As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS), Heritage Bank Plc has increased the level of its support and intervention for the public by collaborating with Gail Sickle Initiative to rescue people living with sickle cell anaemia.
According to the Executive Director of Heritage Bank, Osepiribo Ben-Willie, the relationship with the non-profit Gail Sickle Initiative is intended to lessen the burden of people with sickle cell disease in Nigeria and to ensure that all afflicted people enjoy pain-free, normal lives.
Been-Willie, who made this known in a statement made available to Persecondnews, said it has become imperative for Heritage Bank to help lessen the load as 150,000 children are born with the illness while over 40 million Nigerians are healthy carriers of the sickle cell gene.
This, according to the Heritage MD, is by far the largest burden of sickle cell disorder around the world especially Nigeria, as most of these children die in childhood from lack of access to early diagnosis and proper care.
“In Heritage Bank, health is a priority, that is why we want to continue partnering and supporting the NGO, Gail Sickle Initiative on welfare support, early detection and improved treatment and proper care,” she said.
Ben-Willie further affirmed that Heritage Bank in partnership with Gail Sickle Initiative is synergizing to create significant awareness and support for individuals affected by the disease.
On her part, the convener of Gail Sickle Initiative, Oluwafemi Ajayi, disclosed that with the support from Heritage Bank, the NGO has gone beyond its support to her members whom she refers to as winning warriors, to supporting and donating to people living with the sickle cell disease across the country.
“As an organization that supplies supplements to winning warriors, the Gail Sickle Initiative partnered with Heritage Bank and with the funds provided, went beyond the organizations’ members.
“We have reached out to other winning warriors who have no parental support, and to those in various hospital to give them supplements and offset the bill of some who were unable to pay their bills,” she said.
Ajayi explained that Sickle Cell disorder poses various challenges to the carriers like the health challenge, stigmatization, economic challenges among others.
She said the Gail Sickle Initiative focuses on how to cover every aspect of these challenges by birthing the Sicklepreneur.