US Ambassador Honours Zahra Buhari for Promoting Free Genetic Testing & Counselling

US ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, has recognised the work of President Muhammadu Buhari‘s daughter Zahra Buhari in promoting free genotype testing and genetic counselling in Nigeria as an important early intervention in the prevention of sickle cell disease.

The honorary event took place on June 20, 2016, at the symposium on indigenous mapping and management of Sickle Cell Disease at the US embassy which was organized by Sickle Cell Foundation in partnership with US Embassy in Nigeria.

In his speech, Entwistle said:

“Today, I wish to give special recognition to Ms. Zahra Buhari.  As Nigerians are well aware, the Sickle Cell has touched the first family.  She personally promotes free genotype testing and genetic counselling as important early interventions in order to prevent sickle cell disease.

He continues commending Oludolapo Osinbajo, wife of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, for promoting self-sufficiency of those who have the sickle cell disease.

“I also wish to recognize Mrs. Oludolapo Osinbajo, wife of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.  She ardently promotes self-sufficiency of those who have the sickle cell disease.  Frequent hospitalizations, chronic pain, and fatigue make it difficult for sufferers to maintain jobs in the formal sector.”

Furthermore, he also thanked the Azinge family who worked very hard by creating a foundation devoted to promoting sickle cell awareness and genotype testing to make life better for all Nigerians.

“Also, thank you to Nkem Azinge, one of our very best and brightest Mandela Washington Fellows, for putting today’s event together. People such as Nkem and the entire Azinge family have worked very hard using their family experience to make life better for all Nigerians.”

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He added: ”Sickle cell disease affects millions of Nigerians, as well as an estimated 100,000 Americans.  As a result of its large population and location, Nigeria has the largest population of people anywhere with the disorder.

”Tragically, more than 100,000 Nigerian children are born each year with sickle cell. Research indicates over 40 million Nigerians are carriers of the “S” gene.

”The foundation’s work is thus vitally important—education and testing—to ensure potential parents are more aware of the risks of passing sickle cell disease to their children.”

Photo credit: Instagram

 

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