Genotype must be required for marriage– Expert

…As group seeks intervention on drug availability

By Michael Ofulue, Osogbo

In a bid to reduce the rate of sickle cell ailment in the country, the registrar of the Department of Hematology at the University of Osun Teaching Hospital, Dr. Usman Lawal, has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to make genotype results a requirement for marriage.

Speaking at an event to mark this year’s World Sickle Cell Day, held at the Osun Window on America at UNIOSUN Teaching Hospital, Dr. Lawal emphasized the urgent need for the government to enforce genotype tests for intending couples.

Lawal, who is also a sickle cell patient, further urged the government to monitor the activities of medical laboratories in the country, noting that some issue incorrect results which eventually mislead intending couples.

He said, “My number one appeal is that government at all levels should check the activities of all laboratories in Nigeria. As one of the panelists just said, she was given incorrect results in a lab, which led to her situation.

“Government should also ensure that marriage institutions do not join people who are not compatible. Even traditional, religious, and court marriages should not be sanctioned when couples are not compatible.”

However, the convener and founder of ModuupelreSC Advocacy Initiative, Modupe Sijuade, enjoined the Federal Government to assist sickle cell patients in accessing drugs through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and state insurance schemes.

She further gifted no fewer than 50 sickle cell patients with free drugs at the event, urging well-to-do Nigerians to follow suit.

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She said, “I am calling out to government bodies: if there is a way they can help us access drugs, especially through the NHIS and state schemes, to access more of our drugs. Although we have access to these schemes, we don’t get enough medication and have to spend a lot. On that note, today we will be giving 50 sickle cell patients free drugs.”

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