Thursday, 19 June 2014

Daddy and You Knew..... by Aladeloba Babatunde

Daddy and you knew, she said as she laid helpless on the hospital bed, her eyes were yellow, her stomach protruding, she was back in the hospital for the sixth time just at the first Quarter of the year, she always spent her holidays at the hospital bed and unlike other school kids Bunmi never made 70% of school attendance. I am sure am going to die,  she said to her mother who was on a black head tie, and looking dejected and in utmost despair. You are mourning me already Bunmi said, but her mother stayed mute. The room ambience had a pre-mourning silence, her father was on a polo shirt, he was the CEO of Global energy, a multinational oil company. Bunmi had been diagnosed of  Sickle Cell Anemia at birth, her chances of living past childhood were slim and here she was at just the age of twelve, she was loosing the battle to Sickle Cell Anemia, her father made to placate her, she moved her hand and turned her head.  You both knew it will come to this she muttered and yet you went on to get married. This opened the lachrymal glands of her father as tears begin to roll down the contours of his cheek. The doctor and his team of nurses came and wheeled her into the hematology room for bone-marrow transplant as her mother dropped a rosary in her hand.

In a world that sits despicable today; the devastation of civil war,terrorism, economic meltdown and leadership crisis. There are still life issues we must never stay oblivious from.

Today 19th June is the sickle cell anemia day; to create the awareness about sickle cell. It is a global health crisis ravaging the existence of children. Sickle Cell is genetically inherited from ancestors of the affected offspring when two opposite sex and carriers of the hemoglobin (AS and AS) or (AS and SS) get engulfed in matrimony. A sickle-shaped red blood cell with haemoglobin "S is produced, this weakens the red blood cells and impedes flow of blood through blood vessels.

Sickle Cell was first discovered in 1948 and impeded post-childhood existence, but scientific research and discovery has reduced child mortality by over 30% across the globe but the sorry tale is that the disease remains almost incurable. The global statistics of sickle cell anemia across continents include; 1 in every 5,000 births amidst African-American, 1 in 30,000 births in Hispanic-American, predominantly high with about 1 in every 500 birth in the middle east, Arabian Peninsula, South America and Africa. Informative healthcare and education has helped reduce the disease  amidst mongoloid Americans and Europeans with a rate of about 1 in every 60,000 births.

Nigeria has a relatively high rate with about 150,000 children  born each year with the disease that is about 1 in every 100 birth. Report says Nigeria has about 20million Sickle cell carriers of her populace. Sickle Cell has its biological implications; pain to the carrier, organ damage, vulnerability to infections, weak red blood cell. The psycho-social implications include; torment, matriculant of specialist hospital, near-abuser of health disorder pills, internal concealed mockery by society. The percentile of sickle cell disease in Nigeria still remains high on the statistical graph, due to illiteracy and poor informative health care. A majority of the educated are psychologicaly impaired by love and made cowardice by religion. Many love affairs have gone sour, pain of a dying child, trauma of an affected parent, financial implications of hospital bills. In a technological advanced world where information has permanent residence on cyber space, marital risk is not worth taking. Amidst the profess of love, character compatibility, purpose relevance, there should be genetical consideration.  

Whats the utmost relevance of a future traumatised by deaths and ailment of  children whom the future was initially created for?
So many intending couples who are both carriers of the hemoglobin S genotype get married today on the premise of genetical permutation and Gods faithfulness. God himself has granted man wisdom, he wont do that which man will do, Never! I have heard permutations by couples in which they claim or hope the first and second offspring produces AA or AS but the probality of this varies, man doesn't  have the ability to biologically manipulate foetus genotype, and the spiritual should be left to God. I have heard and seen miracles of transforming Genotype,from SS to AA and as a  Christian i strongly believe in such. But alas, there is a place for Faith and Mercy, if your faith is waivering do not expect such miracle and no man knows if he is a beneficiary of mercy like Jacob.

The mangement of sickle cell anemia is burdensome; psychologically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. The time and energy invested in trauma and  unintending spiritual exercises, is quite avoidable. Sickle Cell Patients go through a lot of inexpainable and eviscerating torture, only a fellow carrier will sure understand. Sickle Cell is impoverished health, which i will state as a component of poverty, that child might never forgive you, he just would never speak up. There are children whom the emotional sore of a lost sibling will take time to heal, as they know their parents were informed. Two S haemoglobin carrying spouses getting married under the guise of  purpose relevance and then end up with Sickle Cell offspring is  likened to "glamorous intentions with abbhoring paintings", the intentions are impaired to human visual sensory, just the paintings are visible to our eyes. So dont risk it, do not bring a child to the world to experience excruciating torment.

Bone marrow Transplant remains the only researched cure for sickle cell anemia around the globe which comes with a lot of complexity,risks and complications. The radiation of chemotheraphy, the genetic compatibility of donors and long term prognosis on the patient are among a few. It is expensive and not readily available in Nigeria. The average Nigerian can therefore not afford a bone marrow transplant but will just keep managing a child with Sickle Cell.

To curb the planaria of Sickle Cell that keeps rising when one dies; Quality education must resurrect, health awareness must reach the illiterate and rural areas,and more importantly genetical counseling must be considered by marriage counselors, presiding pastors and intending couples.

Dapo, Bunmi's elder brother had just layed flowers at her Tomb, she made it out of the hematology transplant room but had a complication of graft failure. With pain in his heart, Dapo also a carrier of the S hemoglobin but lucky enough to be AS has promised to advocate for better management and genetical counseling, his girl friend Remi is also AS, they will remain partners not within the horizons of conjugal affiliation but against the biological terror of Sickle Cell Anemia.

Together lets reduce Sickle Cell Anemia in Africa, lets save the African child and lets create happier homes. In the words of my friend Okunade Hammed; Make a decision that will keep your head above the waters... If Sickle Cell doesn't sink a parent, it will drown a child.

Aladeloba Babatunde, June 2014.


  1. Great stuff. Very educative

  2. Quality stuff.. But e long sha

  3. Another great piece from a genius. Kudos. I was re-educated.

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