About 2.7 million Nigerian women are Rhesus negative, Rhesus Solution Initiative (RSI) President, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Banire has said.The statistic, she said, amounted to 5.9 per cent of Nigerian women population being Rhesus negative.She spoke in Ikorodu during RSI Walk for Life from Government College near Agric Bus Stop to Ikorodu Local Government.
Rhesus negative, she said, accounted for the high rate of stillbirths and loss of babies due to Rhesus incompatibility. Rhesus negative is the absence of the factor of the surface of the red blood cells of some people. About 16 per cent of the human population is said to be Rhesus negative.
Mrs. Banire reiterated that Rhesus incompatibility had no link with witchcraft or Abiku.She said, so many people are ignorant about the condition, but indeed it is a problem that deserves attention.
“According to the National Population Commission (NPC), out of 195 million Nigeria populations, women are about 86 million. 5.9 per cent of these women have Rhesus disease. With our birth rate, it means over 400,000 children would be affected with Rhesus disease,” she said.
The RSI President described the statistics as disturbing. She said: “Nigerians are ignorance about the disease because the government and citizens believe it is not a very common disease as against malaria, typhoid fever, polio and Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV). If the United States with just 10,000 deaths was able to proffer a solution 50 years ago. Why can’t Nigeria that has over 400,000 children affected? You can imagine how enormous the problem is.
“It is actually causing a lot of pains in our homes, causing broken homes, people are being stigmatised.” Mrs. Banire said it is important for the public to know their rhesus factors, blood group and genotype.
“RSI is sensitising the public on the need to know their rhesus factors, blood group and genotype. We are taken it to the grass root, secondary schools most especially to catch them young. Rhesus negative women must get Rhogam Anti D injection 28 weeks into their pregnancies and within 72 hours after birth. The injection will save them from miscarriage and delivery of dead babies or babies with Sickle Cell anemia,” she said.
She urged women to check their baby rhesus factors, blood group and genotype the moment they put to bed, saying, “such child that is rhesus negative should be counsel right from childhood. By the time the child is becoming of teenage age, the child already knows what is expected and the risk involves when she goes through an abortion.”
Banire said the treatment is a major cause for concern because prophylaxis injection is expensive for an average Nigerian.“The injection is about N30, 000 and you imagine the income of an average Nigerian, which is about N18, 000. So how much of that would be required before the person can afford the injection during pregnancy and three days after delivery. So it is a big problem. At RSI, we are assisting the victims but we are unable to attend to everybody; that is why we want the government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to our aid so that this disease will be totally eradicated,” she said.
By Shakirah Adunola | New Telegraph
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