I feel blessed to be among the living witnesses to this groundbreaking project commissioning. I sincerely extend my warmest gratitude to the government and good people of Imo State, and in particular, the rank and file of the Imo State police command, under the able leadership of C.P Mohammed Barde, and also the Police Officers Wives Association’s Chairperson, Hajiya Habiba Barde, on whose instance we had all gathered here today to deliver this healthcare facility as a recorded milestone for the improvement of health via prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. My presence here is in the overall interests of persons living with sickle cell disease, for a special center in the hospital is being dedicated to serve towards ameliorating our numerous health challenges.

Our Organization, the Association of People Living with Sickle Cell Disorder, has been in the vanguard of sensitization and raising public awareness on the disasters inherent in birthing sickle cell children through the abnormalities of genotype incompatibility. We also promote the rights and privileges of sickle cell carriers as a distinctive community of people with special care and needs. The messages that we preach is for all to come to the knowledge of sickle cell which is a disease prevalent in Sub-saharan Africa and wholesomely avoidable, when we follow laid down rules that had been put into effect by legislative or authoritative actions. Sickle cell disease is not contagious like the common flu or HIV, but it’s a disease birthed out of ignorance and blind-love.

Health is man’s greatest asset, and any government that creditably invests in health related projects is acting in conformity with the desires of the people for socioeconomic stability. For some sickle cell carriers who suffer prolonged crisis episodes, quality healthcare services is the silver lining and hope for them from such agonizing moments. The serenity and ambience of the medical facility, the confidence and warmth exuding from doctors and other caregivers, meticulous treatments and monitoring, are all factors that necessitate the recovery rate of the average sickle cell patient.

We are hopeful that this Police Medical Center would serve to project the image of the police as a health conscious organization, providing the best healthcare delivery within Owerri municipality and beyond, moreso now that both federal and state governments are seeking to curb medical tourism. POWA Imo State chapter, under the superlative guidance of Hajiya Habiba Barde, has succeeded in rekindling our faith in the Nigerian project- of health, peace and progress. Police officers of the command can now carryon with the job of policing effectively knowing fully well that an upgraded health facility is within reach to respond to their health demands, including those incurred in the line of duty. Imolites inturn should be grateful that such an amazon is working productively in their midsts because not every state in Nigeria were lucky to have such.

I equally would use this medium to tell everyone to embrace the Sickle Cell Disease ( Eradication and Control) Law, and push for a replica in Imo State.
In 2019, our organization championed the passage of this law in Anambra State, and other states are already indicating their interests to follow the pattern and re-enact such in their respective localities. On this note, I humbly request of the first lady of Imo State, H.E. Barr. Chioma Uzodimma, to pay close attention towards the plights of sickle cell persons, especially children. If needed be, let the sickle cell cause become dear to her as a pet project. Our mothers are the epitome of resilience in forging equitable distribution of resources that have a direct impact on the less- privileges.

As we applaud POWA today for creating this wonderful health facility in Imo State, let us also reflect on the need to cultivate ethical standards required for the growth of this facility. Staffers should stick to maintenance culture and always subscribe to the highest level of discipline in accordance with extant laws guiding the medical profession. I hereby endorse this medical facility and encourage all Sickle cell patients in south east/ south south geopolitical zones, to comfortably approach the Police Medical Center, Amakohia in Owerri, to receive prompt treatment once they become disenchanted with poor medical attention elsewhere.

I thank you all for your attentiveness and encouragements, and pray that our journey back would be hitch free to continue our services towards a greater Nigeria.

Aisha Edwards Maduagwu
National Coordinator,
Sickle Cell Orphanage and Underprivileged Home Agulu.