Katsina State has about 17,000 people suffering from sickle cell disease, the worst incidence among Nigeria’s 36 states.
This figure, obtained from a 2014 statistics from the state Ministry of Health, was highlighted as the Katsina State Government, in collaboration with Future Assured, the NGO of Mrs Aisha Buhari, began an enlightenment campaign to reduce the incidence.
Speaking at the flag-off of free genotype and malaria screening programme, the Secretary to the Katsina State Government, Alhaji Mustapha Inuwa said sickle cell is characterized by high morbidity and mortality, with 50 per cent of patients dying within the first 10 years of their life.
Inuwa said the administration had established six sickle cell clinics in Katsina, Funtua, Malumfashi, Dutsin-ma, Daura and Ingawa local government areas to check the disease.
He said sickle cell is an inherited blood disorder common in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, where one out of every four persons carry the ‘SS’ gene.
In her remark, the state Commissioner of Health, Mariyatu Bala Usman, said the screening was aimed at enlightening the students and the parents on the importance of genotype test before marriage.
No fewer than 1,250 girls from secondary schools in Katsina State are expected to be screened during the exercise.