Dallas-GIMM Alumni Branches Partner To Save Red Cells At MRHR

L-R: Prof. Bosede Afolabi Founder MRHR, Funke Iroko MRHR Collective Program Manager, Chiamaka Uwalaka Admin Manager, Blessing Jatto Chief Admin Manager, Samuel Mbonu Project Officer, Wunmi Taiwo Chairman GIMM and Evang. Adekunbi Akin-Taylor Member Dallas Branch

The Dallas Branch of the Obafemi Awolowo University, alumni association United States of America has donated a cheque of Ten Thousand (USD 10,000,000) dollars to the Maternal and Reproductive Health Research Collective of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH to support their initiative.

The gesture is part of a measure aimed at providing humanitarian service and medical support for the Save Our Red Cells otherwise referred to as Sickle-Cell Warriors. The Maternal and Reproductive Health Research Collective was selected as a beneficiary by The Dallas Branch of the Obafemi Awolowo University, alumni association USA based on the similitude of ideas of the alumni body and the MRHR Collective vision to build partnerships to help improve reproductive health for women thereby reducing maternal mortality ratio (MMR).

Evangelist Adekunbi Akin-Taylor, a representative of the OAU Alumni Dallas Branch and incidentally the Pioneer Chairman of Great Ife Mainland Metro Branch Lagos led the visiting group which included some executives and some other members of GIMM and students of Charlie-Marie Schools for the donation says; “as an alumni organization of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, we at the Great Ife Alumni Association, Dallas, Texas (USA) Branch are committed to driving positive change in both our local communities and in the global community at large. The Save Our Red Cells (SORC) initiative was established in 2018, under our Dallas Branch. SORC’s main objectives involve sponsoring and organizing community events and activities geared towards raising awareness of sickle cell disease, as well as raising funds for its research and cure”.

Responding to the goodwill of the donation, Prof Bosede Afolabi the founder and Chairperson of Maternal and Reproductive Health Research (MRHR) Collective, a renowned Obstetrics and Gynaecology expert with particular specialisation in sickle cell pregnancy, and a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University expressed delight at the gesture. “As a proud fellow Great Ife Alumnae, I am particularly overwhelmed and full of nostalgia by this humanitarian service by the Dallas Branch in partnership with the Great Ife Mainland Metro (GIMM) alumni branches. It is indeed with such sense of gratitude that we the entire team at MRHR Collective like to express our profound gratitude and committed reassurances to continually deliver on our objectives with encouraging support like this”.

Members of GIMM with one of the beneficiaries of MRHR Collectives, Mrs Ikeolu Alabi

Some beneficiaries of MRHR Collectives were on hand to witness the cheque donation and presentation ceremony and were elated by the support given to the organisation. One of them Mrs Ikeolu Alabi, a Sickle-Cell Warrior and mother of twins narrated how she connected with MRHR Collective during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and the receptiveness with which she was attended to. Her enthusiasm was palpable as she could not hide her emotions “Am simply overjoyed by this kind of donation to an organisation that has been so beneficial to me, it is like a family support to me because my relationship with Prof. Bosede Afolabi our founder and the entire team which has gone beyond that of service. This place has shown me love, care and comfort which many SCD patients often don’t get” she noted.

Another beneficiary and mother of two Mrs Bukola Durowoju who gave her testimonial about the good work of the MRHR Collective expressed a great deal of satisfaction at the donation of the USD 10,000 by the OAU alumni association. She explained how MRHR Collective has been of immense assistance. “It’s been a story of sweet memories in my relationship with every single person at MRHR Collective, I must say I found a real part of me amongst them and today I have a boy and a girl with huge support from them standing by me all the way” she expressed with excitement.

L-R: Members of GIMM exco Yetunde Oserada, Excellence Agunze, Adeola Adetunji, Wunmi Taiwo and Evang Adekunbi Akin-Taylor Member Dallas Branch

The Chairman of Great Ife Mainland Metro (GIMM) OAU alumni branch in Lagos, Great Wunmi Taiwo was equally full of praises for the Dallas branch. According to him, “the branch will always identify with the progressive efforts of Dallas as they have often demonstrated so much commitment to giving back to society even from the support for Project Angola which is an initiative to contribute in a way to the maintenance of facilities with the hostel residence of freshmen at the OAU campus” he said.

MRHR Collective was established in 2007 to reduce the rate of pregnancy-related illness and death, and improve the reproductive health of Nigerian women, through research, advocacy, and training programs.

Donations to MRHR by partners are used to provide life-altering intervention to indigent individuals who cannot afford treatment and other documented MRHR programs.

According to reports by the PanAfrican Medical Journal, in 2022 about 50 million people are living with SCD globally and Nigeria is the epicenter zone with about 4-6 million people living with the disease. One in every four Nigerians is reported to have a sickle cell trait while annually, about 300,000 newly diagnosed SCD children are born worldwide. Sub-Saharan Africa contributes about 75% of the number. Nigeria accounts for 100,000-150,000 new-borns living with SCD annually and 33% of the global burden of SCD. Therefore, Nigeria occupies a strategic position in the epidemiology of SCD from a global perspective.

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