Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
Non-Governmental organization, Nirvana Initiative with support from Access Corporation has organized capacity-building trainings for health care providers in 72 primary health care centers across six states in Nigeria on strengthening sickle cell care.
The training, which was carried out in Osun, Edo, Delta, Kaduna, Abuja, and Akwa-Ibom state facilitated the improvement of the care skills of healthcare providers with regard to management of sickle cell.
The Executive Director of Nirvana, Modupe Babawale, said, “Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a global health concern that predominantly affects individuals of African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian heritage. It’s a hereditary blood disorder characterised by abnormal hemoglobin, causing red blood cells to take on a crescent or “sickle” shape.
This condition leads to complications like severe pain episodes, anemia, organ damage, and reduced life expectancy. Despite its wide impact, SCD faces challenges such as low awareness, delayed diagnosis, and limited access to quality care.
“In many areas, healthcare professionals lack sufficient knowledge about SCD, resulting in misdiagnoses and inadequate treatment. Additionally, individuals with SCD and their families often encounter social stigma and discrimination, hindering their access to appropriate healthcare and support.
“Recognising the pressing need for better care and support, the project “Strengthening Sickle Cell Care: Capacity Building for Healthcare Workers and Caregivers” aims to address these gaps and enhance SCD management. This project aligns with Sickle cell awareness month, which occurs every September to raise awareness and advocate for improved SCD understanding and treatment.”
She further added that the project’s primary goal is to empower healthcare workers and caregivers to provide comprehensive SCD care.
By equipping professionals with updated knowledge, practical skills, and necessary resources, it aims to build empathy among health care providers by making the healthcare centers a conducive environment for warriors to be comfortable and a safe space to go to during pain crisis. This, in turn, will reduce complications, alleviate pain, and enhance the overall quality of life for individuals with SCD.
Modupe stated that, “the project included training programs, workshops, and awareness campaigns targeting healthcare workers, caregivers, and the general public.
These activities covered areas like SCD diagnosis, symptom management, pain control, psychological support, and the vital role of caregivers in holistic care. Collaboration and networking among healthcare institutions, support groups, and advocacy organizations will be facilitated to bolster the support system for SCD patients and their families.
“Through strengthening the capacity of healthcare workers and caregivers, increasing awareness, and promoting collaboration, this project aspires to make a significant impact on the lives of those living with SCD. Ultimately, it seeks to contribute to a world where SCD is better understood, diagnosed promptly, and managed effectively, leading to improved health outcomes and enhanced well-being for those facing this challenging disease.”
Also speaking, Access Corporation Head of Sustainability, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, emphasised the critical role that healthcare providers play in improving the lives of individuals with sickle cell disease. She highlighted the importance of early detection, accurate diagnosis, and effective management in reducing complications and enhancing the quality of life for those living with the condition.
Victor-Laniyan expressed her profound gratitude to the dedicated healthcare providers, caregivers, and supporters who are committed to this cause. She recognised their unwavering dedication to strengthening sickle cell care, reducing suffering, and building a brighter future for all those affected by this challenging disease.
The training programme is a testament to Access Corporation’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Access Corporation continues to invest in initiatives that make a positive and lasting impact on communities and individuals worldwide.