MEET 94-YEAR-OLD ASHIATA ADUKE ONIKOYI-LAGUDA THE OLDEST WOMAN RECORDED LIVING WITH SICKLE CELL IN NIGERIA
Sickle Cell Disorder is one of the most common chronic yet treatable genetic disorders in Nigeria and several other parts of the world. As of 2015, it was stated that about 4.4 million people have sickle-cell disease, an additional 43 million have sickle-cell traits with 114,800 deaths recorded in 2015.
With a life expectancy predicted to be between 40-60 years, it is surprising to see that Alhaja Aduke Onikoya-Laguda has lived with sickle-cell anaemia for the past 94 years of her life. Mama, as she is fondly called recounted on her early childhood days revealing it was filled with pains and illness.
When I was born, they said I was Ogbanje (evil child) because no one understood the illness. My late mother had had a child that died previously and she was quite advanced in age when she had me. My early years were full of pain,” she recounted with a glimmer in her eyes. “It was one crisis after another. My mother said the crises began when I was three years old and I had an attack of measles. The outcome was pain all through and till the end.
Mama attended Queens College Yaba, Lagos and Pitman’s College located in England to further her education; luckily for her, she got a job at Post and Telecommunications as a Teleprinter Operator. So far, Mama says her secret to long life is adhering to her doctor’s medical advice, eating right and God grace and she hopes to live till she is 125 years of age.
People living with Sickle Cell Disorder should take care of themselves; follow their own dos and don’ts. When it is cold I keep warm, when it is warm I stay warmer, I eat normally, balanced diet. Be prayerful, know your God. He is the greatest strength we have. She said
Up till date, no cure has been found for people living with this disorder but alternatively, there are treatments made available which can relieve pain and help prevent problems associated with the disease.
Watch a video of Mama below: