UofA wins NIH grants

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, has said the University, through its Centre for Excellence in Sickle Cell Research and Training (CESRTA), will provide free haemoglobin genotype screening for 6000 newborn in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The VC who stated this at the launch of the Consortium on Newborn Screening in Africa for Sickle Cell Disease (CONSA) programme in the Federal Capital Territory on Monday 26th October 2020 on the Main Campus of the University of Abuja, said the resources would be provided every year for the next 5 years while the FCT administration cater for the babies so identified through the programme.

The project which is billed to last for initial two years and may be extended for another three years based on performance, would be carried out in 30 selected primary health care centres (PHCs) in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.

Represented by the Deputy vice-Chancellor, Academic, Professor Clement Alawa said, “It is heart-warming to know that FCT will take care of babies detected through this programme. The University of Abuja will provide free haemoglobin genotype screening for 6000 newborn babies in the FCT every year for the next five years,” Na’Allah stated.
He urged the government to fund basic research on the generic blood disorder to help address the existing knowledge gaps as well as find innovative ways of reducing the burden. ‘’Our prayer is that while we wait to see the benefits from this initiative, I will like to request the honourable minister of states to firmly midwife the programme with the provision of a befitting home in the University to cement this relationship,’’ he said.

The Minister of State for FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, who spoke through Dr. Iwot Ndaeyo, the Acting Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Board, said the FCT Administration was committed to fulfilling its obligation in the partnership to support the SCD Programme and was ready to partner with the University to provide quality health care services to the FCT residents. She said the administration would provide treatment regimen for the identified SCD babies and provide personnel to be trained for the successful implementation of the project as well as mobilize the FCT residents to maximize the benefits of the programme.
Dr. Ramatu Aliyu said the FCT had a projected population of 0-28 days babies of 185,441 for the year 2020 and that therefore, the genotype screening programme would have to be given wide publicity.
‘’I was delighted to note that some people are working towards early diagnosis of SCD in infancy in order to alleviate the sufferings of those affected by the disease. It is equally gratifying that eminent professionals have formed associations to address the needs of the children with SCD to enable them attain healthy and productive adulthood,’’ she noted.