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Published On: Fri, Sep 2nd, 2016

Okowa Calls for Aggressive Awareness Campaign on Rhesus Disease



LAGOS SEPTEMBER 2ND (URHOBOTODAY)-Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has called for advocacy cum awareness campaign to be stepped up for people to know how to avoid Rhesus disease.
Senator Okowa made the call yesterday when Prof (Mrs) Angela Okolo led a consortium of Consultants for the Universal Rhesus Elimination (CARE-Task Force) paid him a courtesy call in Asaba.
The governor decried lack of adequate awareness among the people about the disease which he observed has caused untold hardship on parents.
“We are very much aware of the impact of Rhesus disease on some families,” the governor said, disclosing, “most families are ignorant about the disease and most often, they suffer a lot of pains due to its effects.”
He continued, “I am glad to see that stakeholders are involved in creating awareness, screening and provision of drugs for patients, there is need to have expanded the reach, we need to step up advocacy and information especially at the primary and secondary health care levels for our people to buy into the programme.”
Governor Okowa who was happy that the pilot scheme towards elimination of the disease was commencing in the state, reiterated that it should not be a programme that would be truncated midway, but should be sustained for the desired results to be achieved.
“We want to assure of government’s support as we look forward to a success story in this pilot scheme,” the governor emphasised.
Earlier, Prof. (Mrs.) Okolo informed the governor and members of the state executive council who attended the courtesy call that “Rhesus disease is a major problem in Nigeria,” stating that they were in Delta State on advocacy visit.
Rhesus disease is a condition where antibodies in a pregnant woman’s blood destroy her baby’s blood cells. It’s also known as haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn (HDFN). Rhesus disease doesn’t harm the mother, but it can cause the baby to become anaemic and develop jaundice.
Rhesus disease can usually be prevented using injections of a medication called anti-D immunoglobulin.
All women are offered blood tests as part of their antenatal screening to determine whether their blood is RhD negative or positive. If the mother is RhD negative, she’ll be offered injections of anti-D immunoglobulin at certain points in her pregnancy when she may be exposed to the baby’s red blood cells. This anti-D immunoglobulin helps to remove the RhD foetal blood cells before they can cause sensitisation.
If a woman has developed anti-D antibodies in a previous pregnancy (she’s already sensitised) then these immunoglobulin injections don’t help. The pregnancy will be monitored more closely than usual, as will the baby after delivery.

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