Birnin Kebbi - A total of 66 825 people have sickle cell anaemia disease in Kebbi.
A sickle cell specialist and consultant haematologist, Dr Umar Kangiwa, made the disclosure in his address to mark the 2014 World Sickle Cell Day in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday.
Kangiwa said recent projections indicated that between 1 per cent and 2 per cent of the population of 4.3 million in the state were carriers of the disease.
He attributed the source of the disease to infected blood that was transfused to people due to lack of modern sickle-cell screening facilities.
The state Coordinator, Sickle Cell Patients Association, Hadiza Yahaya, said the association had procured testing kits and equipment worth three million naira for treating the disease.
She said sickle cell screening centres would be established in the four emirates of the state that included Gwandu, Argungu, Yauri and Zuru.
"We will intensify efforts on enlightenment campaign about the disease, especially on symptoms and dangers on Radio and Television,’’ Yahaya said.
Yahaya called on the state government to assist the association with additional equipment, drugs and medical experts to reduce the rate of prevalence of the disease.
She advised people to avail themselves of the free screening against the disease currently ongoing in some of the hospitals in the state.
The Commissioner for Health, Hussaini Raha, represented by Dr Aminu Bunza, the Director Medical Services, commended the efforts of the association for procuring the testing kits.
Raha assured that the state government would support the association financially to enable it establish screening centres.
He said the centres would provide accurate diagnosis, treatment, training and research, community mobilisation and partnership with the private health facilities and improve capacity building on marriage counselling.
The Deputy Governor of Kebbi, Ibrahim Aliyu, called on the association to be steadfast in enlightenment and control of the disease.
Aliyu said the state government would support the association toward eradicating the disease in the same manner it eradicated polio and HIV and AIDS.
For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.