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NGO gives business grants to sickle cell patients

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A non-governmental organisation, CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative, has called for collaborative efforts of all stakeholders to help in the management of sickle cell disorder.

The NGO made the appeal on Saturday during an empowerment programme that targeted 200 patients in Lagos as a way to help them stay afloat in business in the face of economic challenges in the country.

The empowerment programme, which was organised through the group’s ‘Project Empower a Warrior 2.0’ with the theme ‘Adapt and Thrive: Empowering Resilience in the New Economy,’ was held at Alausa.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CrimsonBow, Miss Timi Edwin, urged the patients not to give up on life despite the present economic realities.

Edwin, who is also a sickle cell patient, stressed the need for governments across all levels to pay attention to people living with sickle cell in terms of affordable health care, empowerment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

“We have been talking to the government and telling them about health care for people living with sickle cell.

“We also like to engage this government to say that, please, don’t ignore people living with sickle cell in policies, projects and entrepreneurship,” she said.

Speaking on the initiative’s empowerment programme, Edwin said her NGO provided a business clinic on how to run businesses, and empowerment packages for about 200 patients to alleviate their sufferings.

“We are giving three different cash categories and several mini-grants. The first cost category is N250,000; the second category is N150,000 and the third category is N100,000 to support businesses of sickle cell warriors.

“And, we also know that there are several people who are petty traders, so we provide micro-grants in the sum of N25,000 each to put into their businesses,” Edwin said.

Noting that sickle cell comes with many challenges, she advocated free medical services and drugs for patients through national or state health insurance schemes.

A consultant hematologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr Olufunto Kalejaiye, said though there had been a lot of awareness of sickle cells by different groups, the nation still had a long way to go in the management of the condition.

“We must be aware of the complications of the disorder and strategies on how to go about them. Basically, it is very important that many of the patients be attached to centres where they have specialists to manage the disorder,” Kalejaiye said.

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