As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the 2018 World Sickle Cell Day on June 19,2018, a professor of genetics, Cyril Otoikhian, scorned people living with sickle cell anaemia, describing the disease as a death sentence for sufferers.
“The death sentence is from both parents who are AS and SS and still go ahead to get married.”
He described the management of sickle cell as a waste.
“Investing in a sickle cell child is like you load your money in a sachet and you are in a moving car, and you throw it through the window.” he said.
He disclosed that his foundation is working towards getting Africans to be aware that sickle cell anaemia is not reversible or curable and that the only solution is for people with AS genotype not to marry spouses with SS genotype.
He did not see any reason to mark the World Sickle Cell day either.
“What is there to celebrate,” he remarked asking why anyone would want to celebrate a disease that inflicts so much pain and anguish on sufferers.
His views have however not resonated well with Nigerians, especially people living with sickle cell anaemia.
A caller to the programme identified as Annette told him he was being insensitive and stigmatising sickle cell sufferers. Contrary to the Professor’s view, the caller said the World Sickle Cell Day was being marked to celebrate the sufferers.
“We are celebrating people. We are celebrating life,” she said.
Some Sickle cell sufferers have also reacted angrily to the Professor’s views.
One of them on twitter lamented: “Your guest has made me weep today. I won’t forget all he said about me and all living with sickle cell. I curse him and his useless foundation”.