Mrs Nkechi Ikpeazu, Wife of Abia Governor, said her pet project, Vicar Hope Foundation planned to establish sickle cell clinics in all the 17 Local Government Areas of the state.
Ikpeazu told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that the disease was the most neglected aspect of the health programmes by governments.
According to her, sickle cell disease is the main focus of her project to bring succour to the patients.
According to medical experts, sickle cell disease is a group of blood disorder, typically inherited from a person’s parents.
The body produces red blood cells shaped like a sickle that do not last as long as normal round red blood cells, this process leads to anemia
She said: “We have sickle cell centre at Awka. We have a clinic and when they – patients – come there, we subsidise their bills.
“But we give the routine drugs for free for the sickle cell patients. And we plan to have sickle cell clinics in all the local governments.
“This is so that each centre will ensure that people who have sickle cell get services close to them”.
According to her, the foundation also carries out enlightenment progrmme in the rural areas to reduce the prevalent rate of the sickness.
She said the foundation was being funded through donation from well-meaning individuals.
“Right now, we go from one school to the other, to sensitise the younger ones on the need to know their genotype because that is the only way we can break the cycle.
“You can’t cure it, we only manage it at the centre but we go to the schools to tell the younger ones that when they want to marry, they should know their genotype status.
“We also tell them the problems they will face if people of a particular genotype go ahead to marry.”
Ikpeazu also said her ‘Widows and Indigent Shelter Scheme’ had built bungalows for no fewer than 47 widows and indigent women across the state.
She said the bungalows were completed and furnished to make them a complete home for the beneficiaries.
“If you go to some of these people we built houses for, you will pity them. Some of them just used sacks to cover their houses and they were in danger during rainy season or windstorm.
“In one instance, the dilapidated wall fell on three children and all they died. So, we intend to help the women get befitting shelter for their children.
“There are so many of them but we just pick the very urgent ones and we intend to continue like that to help as many people as we can, ”she said.
She decried the menace of baby factory in the state, saying she was working with the Ministry of Women Affairs to address the incident.
“Most of them-baby factories – use the motherless baby homes to camouflage. We have been working with the Minister of Women Affairs to check the menace.”
According to her, her project also enroled women, especially in the rural areas, with skills acquisition programme in conjunction with the National Directorate on Employment (NDE).
“We are not carrying out the project at the state capital but in all the 17 local government areas.
‘’We do two local governments at a time for three months with the technical assistance of the NDE.
“At the end of the months, we give them start-up capital and equipment for them to start their various trade.” (NAN)