The Nigerian Senate house has been condemned for passing into reading the Bill that prohibit sickle cell carriers from getting married.
Torixus recalled that on July 11, the Senate passed for a second reading a bill tagged “Mandatory hemoglobin genotype testing”, seeking to illegalize courtship/marriage of people living with sickle cell anaemia to one another.
Torixus learned that the reason why the call for the prohibition is because Nigeria is known to have the highest number of people living with Sickle cell anaemia. Nigeria occupying 75% of sub sahara African children born with Sickle cell on yearly count. Over 150,000 new born are reported to be carriers of the anaemia.
During the inauguration of the Muyiwa Talabi Exchange Blood Transfusion unit in Lagos on Thursday, The Chief Executive Officer of the Sickle Cell Foundation, Dr Annette Akinsete, condemned the bill before the Senate prohibiting the marriage of sickle cell carriers.
Akinsete, urge sickle cell carriers not to be discouraged to get married to each other.
“What we are saying is that children under the age of five should receive free health care, pregnant women who have sickle cell disorder should also be treated free. I expect to see those components in the legislation, not to say those who are carriers should not marry each other. Discouraging carriers of sickle cell from marrying each other is like trampling on their rights
“There are options available to those who are at risk of having children with sickle cell and you have to make those options known to them. Some people want to marry and adopt children, it is not for you to prescribe that Mr A and Miss B should not marry, it is against human rights. We have what is called prenatal diagnosis where couples who are at risk of having children with sickle cell can determine the genotype of their unborn child in early pregnancy,” Akinsete said.
She dismayed the routine act of many pregnant women, aborting after they discover that their baby has sickle cell disorder.
In her statement, she said that the exchange blood transfusion and stem cell therapy is scientifically proved to help positively, the condition of people living with sickle cell disease.