• Suite A7, MIB Plaza, Gwarinpa
  • +234 912 527 3725
  • somscf@gmail.com
  • End of A One-Day First Communique National Dialogue On Better-Life For Persons Living With Sickle Cell Disorder


The SOM Sickle Cell Foundation in collaboration with Yakubu Gowon Centre with the support of Shehu Mohammed and co, Abolade Nurudeen and co, May and Baker, Aliu Trust Foundation as well as Nachalle, organized a one-day first National Dialogue on Better Life for Persons Living with Sickle Cell Disorder at Merit House, Maitama, Abuja on Tuesday, November 29, 2022.

It was attended by 300 participants drawn from government, health practitioners, civil society organisations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NG0s), students, the private sector, media and general public towards enhancing the total well-being of persons living with sickle cell disorder.

The Dialogue commenced with welcome address from the Yakubu Gowon centre (YGC) delivered by Mrs Bilikisu Maina Bawa, the Head of Administration of the center. This was followed by the speech from the founder, SOM Sickle Cell Foundation, Malam Shehu Olaitan Mohammed. The lead speaker, Aisha Indo Mamman, Professor of Haematology and Consultant Haematologist, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria delivered the lead presentation.

Eminent discussants of the lead presentation were, Dr Olusegun Shoyombo, Consultant Psychiatrist, National Hospital Abuja, Pharmacist Zainab Ujudud Sheriff, Director and Head of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Department, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Hauwa Usman Sani, (Sickle Cell Warrior and Advocate) Founder, Strong Cell Foundation (SCF).

Goodwill messages were delivered by representatives of the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, The Nigerian Airforce, The Nigerian customs, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, (NSCDC), National Agency for Food, Drug and Control (NAFDAC) Students groups and the Royal Father of the day, HRH Alh. (Dr) Usman Nga Kupi, the Sapayi of Garki among others.


Today, globalization, migration, inter-racial marriages and procreation have resulted in the emergence of sickle cell anaemia (SCA) in parts previously thought to be free of the disease. At least, 2 per cent of Nigeria’s population have sickle cell anemia (SCA) at roughly 4 million while about 25 per cent Nigerians are carriers of the genotype.

A lot of sufferers delay presentation to health facilities for fear of discrimination which ultimately results in avoidable complications. The term, “You know your body”, Ogbanje, Abiku, is one of derogatory terms that triggers coping strategies, like withdrawal and reduced physical and social engagement depriving carriers of living to full potentials.

Though bone marrow transplantation is available in Nigeria, it is prohibitively expensive. On the other hand, gene therapy is still at experimental stages.

Self-medication, Analgesic dependence and abuse is prevalent among warriors mainly because of the cost of hospitalisation, attitude of health workers towards warriors and attitude of wanting immediate stoppage to pains by warriors.

Eliminating sickle cell anaemia (SCA) is a huge challenge to humanity however the prevalence can be reduced to the barest minimum through concerted efforts of all stockholders.


There should be general awareness on the need for all Nigerians to know their genotype and the compatibility rule in the choice of life partner. The Dialogue commends the SOM SCF “Know Your Genotype” drive which arm at conducting free genotype testing for minimum of one hundred people every year for a target group of senior secondary and tertiary institution students.

The Dialogue call on Government at all levels to allow for automatic enrolment of indigent sickle cell warriors on their health Insurance plans and commend the SOM SCF programme of free enrolment of indigent sickle cell warriors on the NHIS. The Dialogue call on well-meaning Individuals, philanthropist and corporate organization to partner with the foundation to increase the numbers of the present enrollees.

Health workers should show more understanding and empathy to the sickle cell patients whenever they presented themselves to the hospitals for treatment.

Sickle cell warriors should be given equal opportunity in job placements, the need for empowerment of warriors with entrepreneurship and soft skill training so that they can be self- employed to generate income for their well-being was also emphasized.

Nutrition is very important in the life of persons living with sickle cell anemia.  A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes will provide a greater proportion of the essential nutrients and appropriate supplementation they need for the formation of blood cells. Traditional, Complimentary and Alternative Medicines should also be explored in the treatment of sickle cell disorder.

The audience commends the SOM SCF for organising the Dialogue in collaboration with the YGC and call for the sustainability of the annual Dialogue and other programme of the foundation.

Endorsed by

Mallam Shehu Olaitan Mohammed

Founder, SOM Sickle Cell Foundation

Mrs Bilkisu Maina Bawa

Head of Administration, Yakubu Gowon Centre