Gov. Sanwo-Olu inaugurates newly built multi-storey Sickle Cell Centre in LASUTH

Lagos State has welcomed a newly built healthcare infrastructure to expand access to care for children living with sickle cell disorder.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday,   inaugurated the two-storey Paediatric Sickle Cell Centre sited in the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital ,LASUTH, Ikeja. The purpose-built medical facility was donated by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant ,SSA, to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) occupied by Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.

The intervention was initiated to address the inadequacies and strengthen the Centre to cope with the volume of sickle cell cases daily attended in the Centre.

Before its redevelopment, the Centre was housed in a tight-fitting bungalow which served as an extension of Paediatric Hospital, struggling with inadequate space for patients’ admission and facilities to provide special care required by the adolescent sickle cell sufferers.

Sanwo-Olu described the intervention as a “remarkable donation” strategic to the State’s healthcare value chain noting that the project would scale up response time to cases and stem infant mortality.

He said: “This collaboration with the Office of the SSA to the President on SDGs is a testament to our collective commitment to improving care for children living with sickle cell diseases. I acknowledge Princess Orelope-Adefulire for her vision and unwavering commitment to healthcare advancement that made this Centre a reality. This will not only transform our healthcare landscape, it will also add to the number of child care facilities in Lagos.

“If we all work together, we can achieve a lot more together. This hospital will provide a comprehensive care that will include early diagnosis, advanced treatment and continuous management to children that are suffering the debilitating condition. The Centre will also serve as a hub for research and education, which will foster and deeper understanding of the disease. More importantly, it will contribute to reducing infant mortality index.”

Sanwo-Olu said the facility would nurture an environment where children would get holistic care tailored to their individual needs, including medical treatment and psychological support.

The Governor expressed appreciation to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for founding Lagos worthy to benefit from the intervention. He said the project had further reinforced the health vision of the President to enhance the nation’s capacity to meet global health coverage.

Orelope-Adefulire, a former Deputy Governor of Lagos, said sickle cell disease had impacted communities across the nation negatively, subjecting families to psychological torture. This, she said, informed the priority accorded to development of modern medical care capability to address the growing cases.

The SSA said three million people are living with sickle cell disease in Nigeria, projecting precarious outlook for the country. She said the President approved the initiative to further demonstrate his commitment to achieving all targets set in Goal 3, Target 2 of the SGDs and leave no one behind in the initiatives rolled out to address the challenges.

“This intervention is a cardinal pillar of healthcare and empowerment in the Renewed Hope agenda of the current administration. Knowledge and skill among the public health workers are critical to improving the care for sickle cell cases. Before now, LASUTH treated 45 out of 1,000 patients weekly due to constraints of space and facilities.

“This Sickle Cell Care Centre will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 3, Target 2, which seek to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, thereby reducing global burden to 25 per 1,000 by 2030. In Nigeria, our target is to achieve zero per 1,000 at the end of implementation period.”

LASUTH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabanwo, said the facility would offer preventive and therapeutic care to child sufferers, thanking the Orelope-Adefulire for supporting the teaching hospital with the project.

He said the Centre would take off the burden of the Paediatric Unit in the teaching hospital, which was challenged by surging cases of child sufferers. The new facility, he said, offered conducive environment for treatment.

“LASUTH is blessed with dedicated staff that look after children with sickle cell disease. In the new Centre, child patients will have the benefit of a conducive environment to be attended as out patients; those in need of a day or prolonged admission can also be admitted,” Prof. Fabanwo said.

Head of the Paediatrics, Haematology,

Oncology Unit at LASUTH and Coordinator of the Centre, Dr. Ijeoma Akinwumi, gave details of the activities that would be carried in the facility.

The Associate Professor of Paediatrics said the Centre would cater for children between zero age and 18 years, giving them comprehensive care in their moments of crisis.

She said the Centre is equipped to carry out diagnosis of sickle cell within 10 minutes. She said the units in the facility include multi-disciplinary unit, counseling unit, X-Ray therapy unit, laboratory and pharmacy.

“The Centre is built with electronic record technology to manage medical records of patients from birth to adult,” she said.

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