Arik Air, West Africa’s largest commercial carrier, has partnered the Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria, SCFN to raise over N5million to fight the burden of the disorder in the country.
The support is in form of an In-Flight Donation Scheme to raise funds that will enable the foundation to provide necessary treatment, care and support for people with sickle cell disorder in Nigeria.
The scheme has been ongoing for almost five months now during which more than N5m has been raised.
Speaking at a media forum recently, the chairman of the foundation, Prof. Olu Akinyanju said, Nigeria has the highest burden of the Sickle Cell in the world because of our population, with over 150,000 children born with sickle cell disorder in Nigeria”.
Appreciating the management of Arik Air, Akinyanju said, “money for the health sector generally is low not to talk of sickle cell, so it is very important. We are very happy that Arik airlines now is supporting us, we are happy you are here to see what we are doing. There must be continuity and we hope we continue to get funds from not just Arik but from everyone.”
Speaking on behalf of the management of Arik Air, Siva Ramachandran said, sickle cell disorder is a serious condition needing urgent intervention like any other condition or disease.
”The disorder affects our children and we must find a way to control, if not, eradicate it and this can only be done by public awareness so that public can be aware of this condition and the requirements to work towards the control and eradication. ”As a caring airline, we thought we have to support this course to contribute to the success and expansion of the projects with the control and probably, eradication of the disorder.”
He noted that sustaining this course, the centre in controlling this condition require fund. Ramachandran also appealed to the general public to support this course whenever they travel on the airlines with their contribution from their hearts.
The In-Flight Scheme is in the form of charitable donations from passengers on board Arik flights. He added that the contribution on the part of the passengers create an avenue to also spread, educate and create awareness on sickle cell on a regular basis.
The airline has commenced the initiative on the Lagos-Abuja-Lagos and Lagos-Port Harcourt–Lagos routes. It plans to expand to other routes in the future.