The winner of Face of Epic Africa Beauty Pageant 2021, Ms Rafat Isah has called for increase in the awareness campaign and health talks in the fight against sickle cell anemia for intending couples.
She also asked both government and private organizations to redouble their efforts in tackling and improving the health status of patients living with the disease.
She disclosed this at the weekend during a visit to Uke General Hospital in Nasarawa State where she distributed food items to the patients.
She said her visit to the hospital was part of the activities line up toward toward the achievement of her pet project tittle “Eradication of Sickle Cell Anaemia” aimed at creating awareness campaign on the ailment for the intending couples irrespective of their religious affiliation.
She said the project would help her to develop problem solving skills on the subject matter and give back to the society.
The beauty pageant advised the general public particularly intending couples to know their genotype by getting test for prevention and early detection, especially among intending couples before marriage.
She condemned the discrimination by the people and employers against those diagnosed with the sickle cell anemia describing the action absurd and unacceptable.
According to her,” I am Rafat Isah the face of Epic Africa 2021 working on the project titled “Eradication of Sickle Cell Anaemia” . We can come together and eradicate the scourge of Sickle Cell in Nigeria. All we need to do is to create much needed awareness for intending couples to take necessary precaution and avoid marrying partners with genotype that is not compatible.
“For example partners with following genotypes are not compatible and are not expected to get married ; AS + AS, AS + SS, SS + SS and AC + SS.
“We should make sure we know our genotype before going into marriage.
“I am here to impact on the life of patients that are receiving treatment in this hospital with the little i have to support them and wish them quick recovery.
She said the next phase of the project would involve free genotype test and awareness campaign in public places.
Also speaking at the event the Yakanajen Uke, HRH. Alh. Dr. Ahmad Abdullahi Hassan (Koba) commended the kind gesture and show of love exhibited by the queen Rafat saying that his late son had been advocating for such project and awareness campaign among the youths who are of marriageable age to avoid making such grave mistake.
According to him, “It brings back the memory of my late son Nurudeen Adamu Abdullahi. This is what i he has been advocating for and today history has repeated itself for singlehandedly coming to pay homage and also to render assistance to the people of this community.
“That is why I said I am speechless; a word cannot be enough for me to express myself.
But whatsoever you feel is necessary and good to come and touch and impact the life of my people of my kingdom. I pray Almighty God give you what you desire. You will not lack.
“This gallant resilience of giving back to society what you feel is necessary for you on what you are able to achieve in life.
“He who sows a seed in once life is only God Almighty that will reward him in the year after. I will like my council here seated to follow you to General hospital to share your items.
Also present at was the Sarkin Arewa Students West, HRH Amb. Jodah Makinta who played a prominent role and supported the beauty queen in making the event comes to fruition.
Some of the items distributed to the patients at male and female wards include; foods, tissue paper, detergents, table water, soft drinks, Dettol and others.
On her own part the Manager of Epic Africa Beauty Pageant, Queen Enegold Onuh said the pageant was aimed at promoting African girl child and young girls in order to inculcate African culture and tradition in them.
According to her, “Face of Epic Africa beauty pageant is an African pageant. We came to promote the young African girl child positively. To inculcate the Africa culture and tradition to our young girls, we brought this up because we want to enlighten them on how to become independent without deviating from the true Africa nature for girl child.
“It is like a regular beauty pageant. We are unique in our own way in the sense that we take our time to camp our contestants for ten days. We give them that training to be able to stand out and look differently when they go out to meet with other queens.
“The criteria use in judging is fair one. Before coming to camp, all you need to do is to get your form. We have pre- camp activities. We give them task to achieve before coming to camp on how to write their pet project”.
Sickle Cell Disorder, also known as Sickle Cell Anaemia, is a group of disorders that cause red blood cells to become misshapen and break down.
It is an inherited group of disorders, where red blood cells contort into a sickle shape and die early, leaving a shortage of healthy red blood cells to convey oxygen throughout the body, blocking blood flow and causing pain to the patient, generally referred to as sickle cell crisis.
Normal red blood cells usually live for about 120 days before being replaced, but in patients with Sickle Cell Disease, the cells die in 10 to 20 days, causing a shortage, and without enough red blood cells, the body cannot get enough oxygen, causing pains and fatigue.