Nyong’o wants universities to establish research centres
MEDICAL Services minister Anyang’ Nyong’o has called on universities to establish sickle-cell anaemia research centres to help curb the spread of the disease. Speaking yesterday at an event to mark the World Sickle Cell Anaemia Day at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu, where he represented Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Nyong’o decried the rising cases of the illness.
He said sickle cell cases are on the increase across the country with Nyanza leading. “We want to encourage research centres in the institutions of higher learning so that we can initiate safer methods to deal with the diseases in the country,” Nyong'o said. Nyanza, Western, Coast and parts of Rift valley are said to be the areas worst affected by the disease.
In a speech read on his behalf by Nyong'o, the PM said provision of health services for the illness requires an integrated approach since it is a disease that has no cure. The stakeholders’ forum on sickle cell anaemia was hosted by the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation. “Although sickle-cell anaemia cannot be cured, it can be managed through simple measures such as increasing fluid intake, pursuing a healthy diet, taking folic acid supplements and taking medication,” the PM said. He said the government is committed to ensuring that affordable and common sense interventions are available for all people suffering from the disease.
The PM said there is need for most cost effective ways to establish and maintain screening programmes, integration of specialist services into general health services and the optimum approaches to family and community education about the disease. Nyanza provincial director of medical services Ojwang’ Lusi challenged patients suffering from the disease to go for screening exercises at the local facilities. World Sickle Cell Awareness Day celebrated on June 19 is an annual event that commemorates the date in 2008 when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution recognising sickle cell anaemia as a public health concern.