HIS MAJESTY’S OPENNING REMARKS OF THE 1ST AFRICAN CONGRESS ON SICKLE CELL DISAESE AT LANDMARK CONVENTION CENTER,VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS – 31 OCTOBER 2019.
We take this opportunity to congratulate the organizers of this first ever African Congress on Sickle Cell Disease. Usually, it is not very easy to initiate something. I commend you for that.
The Worldwide estimate for new born babies with sickle cell disease each year is 400,000 including 300,000 with cell anaemia. The greatest burden is seen in Sub – Saharan Africa, where more than 75% of all sickle cell disease occurs, with this proportion projected to increase by 2050. In Africa, Sickle Cell Disease contributes substantially to the mortality rate of children under the age of five and therefore, limits progress towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3; Good Health and Well – Being, which includes the reduction of childhood mortality. There is urgent need to improve sickle cells awareness, disease prevention and early detection. As leaders in Africa, and especially cultural leaders we mind the well- being of our subjects. In Buganda we have a common talk “Kabaka ayala bantu” meaning; where there is a king, there must be people. That means we must have people and they need to be in good health to enable development in our various communities in Africa. Let us do all what it takes to improve our people’s livelihoods, especially in health. We want to see a continent without disease. Let us play our part.
It is on this note that I appeal to all of you here today, to discuss openly, willingly and freely on how we can solve the sickle cells burden. I personally believe, we have big stake as Africans to work on our challenges.
I call upon all stake holders; especially sickle cell experts, researchers, policy makers and leaders in all sectors in Africa to engage in the mitigation of diseases mainly the Sickle Cell Disease under serious scrutiny in these three days in Lagos and we are eagerly waiting to learn from the way forward at the end of this congress.
We wish you good deliberations during this congress.
Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II