Hello friends and warriors.
First, a big thank you!
We wouldn’t have come this far without you! We cannot thank you enough for your donations, support, generosity and commitment to the Sickle Cell cause. Without your voice, Sickle Cell Anaemia or genetic compatibility will not be a topic of discussion in many households, organizations, communities or health care centers. With your support, those fighting for their life, for access to standard healthcare and social support are reminded of one simple fact; that they are not alone. As an organization, Samira Sanusi Sickle Cell Foundation will not be where it is today without you. What started with a team of 5 in Abuja has now spread to teams in Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, Kaduna, Zaria, Funtua, Yola, Borno, Sokoto with hundreds of members and volunteers impacting hundreds of beneficiaries and many communities.
2018 has been quite a productive year for us; advocacy and empowerment remain a constant value to our work with the Clothing Drive, Secondary Schools Sensitization Program and as always, Genotype Testing & Compatibility Campaign projects taking the spotlights.
Secondary Schools Sensitization Program
The year saw our Teams executing the Secondary School Sensitization program simultaneously in multiple states of the Country. Our teams delivered Sickle Cell Awareness lectures to students from 10 Secondary Schools, majority of which are in Sokoto state. A writing competition for Junior & Senior Secondary Students was also held, to encourage and improve their writing skills and to challenge them as advocates and young activists on ways they can spread awareness in their immediate communities. These advocates have gone ahead to establish Sickle Cell Clubs in their schools, under the leadership of their health teachers and other school authorities.
In GSS Gwagwalada, the club carries out annual visual storytelling activities through drama to educate and enlighten other students and guests on the importance of knowing one’s genotype, and the need for support for those living with Sickle Cell Anaemia.
Genotype Testing Campaign
This year, we made another trip to Waru IDP Camp in Abuja to deliver our promise of testing the children and young adults. The community and its residents do not have access these kinds of tests or sensitizations. Thankfully, Firmcare Diagnostic and Medical Services Ltd joined our outreach to help carry out tests, counsel parents and provide on the spot health checks and consultations. The Sanitary Bank, an organization committed to improving menstrual hygiene in young girls also joined the outreach, donating hundreds of sanitary pads to girls and young adults.
We also partnered with Global Shapers Kano and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital to carry out free genotype tests for young adults. Thanks to the support and collaboration of our partners, we were able to test hundreds of people, bringing us closer to our goal; Sickle Cell Awareness - one genotype test at a time.
Clothing Drive For SC
Thanks to our donors and supporters, we were able to collect bags and bags of gently used clothes, mosquito nets and other pre-loved items like shoes, blankets and toys which were distributed to people in Waru IDP Camp, a lot of who are exposed to harsh conditions and weathers. The Clothing Drive which has been running for four years now has benefited many people, particularly Sickle Cell Warriors from low income families who are exposed to harsh living conditions.
Our beneficiaries wouldn’t have come this far without your generosity and contribution to the Patient Aid. As you know, low income families are our priority because they lack access to healthcare and health care information. Your donation means our Warriors are able to go to the hospital when crisis hits, they are able to get a transfusion when they desperately need blood, and get treatments for symptoms that could otherwise get complicated if not treated immediately. This financial support also helps them to focus on other aspects of life, without worrying about the possibility of going penniless after every admission and treatment.
Social Media Awareness Campaign
Our social media platforms have helped in bridging the gap between people and health care information. We have used this medium to spread awareness, engage with people or patients, share info visuals to sensitize and educate people in creative ways, and gain support from social media influencers and celebrities. This has significantly helped in improving our visibility, linking us to more organizations and individuals who have now become partners and donors, and giving other Warriors all over the world and country access to us. Together, we have formed an online community dedicated to intensifying awareness and supporting warriors.
Our sincere gratitude and admiration go to the kind of heroes that don’t wear capes; our blood donors. Advocating for blood donation is a big part of the Sickle Cell cause, as most of our beneficiaries rely on these frequent blood transfusions to live a healthier and pain free life. Thanks to the kind souls that have now become frequent donors, and the organizations that have collaborated with us in carrying out Blood Drives, we have increased the number of blood donors and most importantly, saved precious lives.
Bone Marrow Drive & Bone Marrow Transplant Consultation
At the moment, the only known cure for Sickle Cell Anaemia is a Bone Marrow Transplant. Unfortunately, it is not accessible and affordable to many Nigerians. Part of our advocacy is to spread awareness on the cure, support research and link patients to BMT experts. Organizations like the Bone Marrow Registry in Nigeria and African Bone Marrow Program joined hands in carrying out a Bone Marrow Drive. It was held in the SSSCF head office in Abuja and was a successful campaign as many people came out to get swabbed.
The need for awareness continues as many people on the transplant list rely on finding a match who is from the same ethnicity or ancestry in order to get cured. Dr. Gaurav Kharya of Artemis Hospitals, India also visited Nigeria to mark World Sickle Cell Day by meeting patients and families seeking a Bone Marrow Transplant. Free consultations and seminars were held to help intending patients meet with the experts, seek information, get evaluated and more informed decisions.
We look forward to another impacting year with you!