Cameroon joins the international community to commemorate World Sickle Cell Day on 19th June 2018.
The commemoration is an opportunity to take a look at sickle cell anaemia, a pathology which can be fatal if treatment is not given at the right time.
Many argue that government needs to equate sickle cell anaemia to other pathologies like HIV/AIDS whose treatment is subsidised.
One of those is Arrey-Echi a sickle cell anaemia patient in her early forties.
She is increasingly frustrated with the stigma and the feeling of abandonment.
Arrey-Echi says growing up as a sickle cell patient, she was considered different because many of her peers know so little about the pathology.
Some even avoided her thinking sickle cell anaemia is an airborne infection.
Even within medical circles she says much information is needed;
“I have hardly come across a medical Doctor that fully understands sickle cell anaemia. I think much is not being said or done to sensitise the public compared to other health conditions.”
With the misconceptions, Arrey-Echi has engaged on an information campaign.
Through her blog www.joy2endure.com she gets the world to understand more about sickle cell patients and push for more government’s assistance.
She writes articles on the challenges of sickle cell patients and a possible way forward.
In one of her articles she writes;
“The number one challenge warriors face is that of finances. The cost of staying alive for any warrior is huge irrespective of what economic power they and their family have. Bills, bills, bills and more bills are the order of the day, leaving deep constant holes in our pockets and those of our families. It is difficult to save or plan projects for the future when the bulk of your hard earned money goes to paying bills to stay alive.”
Eating healthy and drinking much water she says are some of her secrets of staying healthy and not going into regular crisis.
Arrey-Echi through her advocacy is inspiration to her community.
Pressure groups solicit her to advocate for change of mentality and more government’s attention to the plight of patients.
As the world commemorates World Sickle Cell Day on 19th June 2018, Arrey-Echi has galvanized support through social media to create awareness of the deficiency.
During this month of June, the group has adopted red and black outfits to send a strong message to decision makers and to empower sickle cell patients.
Bruno Ndonwie Funwie