Wife of the Delta State Governor and Founder, O5 Initiative, Dame Edith Okowa has commissioned the 14th sickle cell Clinic in the state.
The Medical Facility established by the First Lady’s Foundation, is located at the General Hospital, Ogwashi Uku in Aniocha South Local Government Area.
Commissioning the clinic, Dame Okowa said that the establishment of Sickle Cell Clinics across the State is to save lives, praying that patients who will enter the facility even at the point of death, will be saved.
She explained that her passion to make life better for sickle cell patients was borne out of her experience of the disorder, stressing that with the establishment of this new clinic, her heart was filled with joy and fulfillment. She said: “I present to the people of Aniocha South Local Government Area, the 14th Sickle Cell Clinic. It is a dream come true.”
She added: “We thank God for giving us this vision and providing the resources to carry out our plans. I appreciate the people of Aniocha South for their immense contributions towards the actualization of this project; your financial contributions, prayers and the thought to erect this building is heartwarming. I pray that the Lord will reward you in Jesus name.”
Dame Edith Okowa while recounting the achievements of O5 Initiative in the past four years, said, “we made a promise when this Journey started, to establish a Referral Centre in Asaba, I am glad to say that the promise has been fulfilled. The Asaba sickle cell centre is fully fitted with modern equipment manned by skilled and qualified personnel and has so far handled with great success, major challenges faced by sickle cell sufferers”.
The first lady further said that the 13 established sickle cell clinics by O5 Initiative in Agbor, Ughelli, Oleh, Sapele, Kwale, Koko, Eku, Patani, Otu-Jeremi, Orerokpe, Issele-Uku and Umunede are fully functional and have in no small way impacted in the lives of indigent patients.
She assured that the remaining local government areas will soon have theirs. “We are not resting on our oars, we look forward to establishing twelve more Sickle Cell Clinics where there is a General Hospital in the state”.
Dame Edith Okowa urged members of the public to join hands in creating a better future for sickle cell patients, cautioned against stigmatization and charged parents not to discriminate against any child with such condition. “Let’s join hands together for the good of society and change our world, one person at a time”, Okowa urged.
In her welcome address, the Director General of the initiative, Mrs. Oghenekevwe Agas, expressed thanks to God for the establishment of another clinic, saying it is a hope for sickle cell patients in the area.
Resource personnel who spoke at the event; Mrs. Magdalene Dike, medical lab scientist, advocated early screening for children of sickle cell carriers and compulsory genotype test for intending couples, while Mrs. Anthonia Obi, a food nutritionist, harped on balanced diet and regular intake of water for the patients.
The event also featured cultural dance and drama by sickle cell warriors and testimonies by sickle cell survivors; Justice Excel Timi-Tonye, Miss Blessing Edo, Mrs. Gift Nkwor and Mrs. Bridget Augustus who encouraged other sickle cell patients with the words, “sickle cell is not a death sentence”.
High points of the event were the official unveiling of the clinic and presentation of long lasting insecticidal nets to sickle cell patients.