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94-year-old Nigerian sickle cell survivor speaks of her years of illness and how she survived against the odds.

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A 93-year-old Nigerian woman who has Sickle Cell anaemia has granted an interview in which she spoke about her life, living with sickle cell, marriage, childbirth and surviving against the odds.

Alhaja Ashiata Abike Onikoyi nee Laguda will be 94 years old this October and she lives a full life though she has the dreaded SS genotype. Alhaja Laguda, as she is popularly called, said during an interview with The Nation, that she stopped having Sickle Cell attacks since she turned 40, though her genotype remains same.

“Doctors see me and wonder what a miracle I am.,” the nonagenarian said.

She recalled that being sickly was tougher at the time she was growing up because nobody knew about sickle cell anaemia. She was always sick to the point that in a whole year, she may attend school only about three months of the entire annual school calendar while she spent the other months sick and at home. She was given all sorts of concoctions to cure her illness due to the ignorance surrounding the ailment.

“I was taken to the hospital; then they still brought all sorts of concoction from the Igbo tribe, from Yoruba people and from Hausa part of the country, because it was a very serious sickness. I just took everything that they gave me. They would cut me on every part of my body but I gave myself to them because I wanted to live.”

When the illness attacked her hands, she recalled that she would not be able to use them for anything – not even to eat. When it attacked her legs, she would not be able to walk, and whenever she was at home, she must be by the fire-side, to keep her warm.

“They called me abiku and several other names, but thank God things have changed today. Also, the government is doing everything within its power to enlighten the people about the disease.”

She said her father pampered her because he feared he could lose her at any moment. So he mostly kept her away from school.

She said: “If he didn’t die, I probably wouldn’t have been educated because he said I should be left at home, so that they can watch over me every time.

“He insisted that because of my nature, no teacher should beat me. He would say I should be left at home even when I was not having any attacks; but when he died I had no choice because my mum insisted I went to school. That, in a nutshell, was how it became possible for me to go to school.”

She added: “If I went to school and it was going to rain, they would bring a car to pick me, because the rain must not touch me. I must not go out in the cold, I must not step on wet ground; I couldn’t even stay where there was a fan, let alone in a cold weather.

“But all that is gone now. Since I clocked forty, I have not had any attacks.”

Alhaja later wanted to go to England for Secretariat Studies but concerned persons advised her mother against it because they thought the cold weather will not be conducive to her health. She stood her grounds and travelled and there she got better care because they understood her illness.

Alhaja Laguda later married, more than once, and had children. The first man she married was her medical doctor, Dr. Alakija. He was married at the time but loved her and understood her condition so he also married her and came to her rescue when at Queen’s College, Lagos, she was expected to be involved in certain activities that were too tasking for her health.

She had two children with her first husband before his death. Then she remarried and had more kids. When asked how many husbands she had, she replied, “I had many husbands o!”

She said all the men she married knew she was sickly but they didn’t care because in those days, not everyone knew about sickle cell anaemia.

“They loved me so, and married me so,” she explained

She had four of her children before travelling out of Nigeria and said childbirth was pretty easy for her. But the delivery of her last child was not so easy and she thought she would die.

She recalled: “I remember when I had my last child, I told the doctor that I would die that day but he said no, that I would not die. He and other doctors on duty were on ground, telling me that they were weighing the blood I was losing and they gave me the best treatment. In fact, at lunch time I was up and doing; I even had lunch with the doctors.”

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Alhaja Laguda has remained strong all her life and even continued doing herlaundryy herself up until the age of 90 when she suffered a fall and began to take things slow. She attributes her long and healthy life to praying and trying as much as possible to lead a normal life.

She said: “What gave me the strength is God because I am a prayer warrior. I prayed, I fasted regularly and I have visited the holy land (Mecca) thirteen times, to serve my God and ask him for what I want.”

As regards nourishment, Alhaja Laguda said she doesn’t avoid any foods and eats everything.

She said: “I eat everything that people eat. This morning I had bread and egg. I don’t have any don’ts at all. I eat sugar also.

“I eat dates a lot also because they are from Mecca and they are very good fruits.”

She said she does a lot of exercising and believes walking is the best form of exercise.

She said:, “Before I fell, I used to walk from my house here in Ilasamaja, Lagos to Mushin and Oshodi market as a form of exercise because I believe walking is the best exercise one can engage in. I walked like that until I was 90 when I fell and had to stop.”

Prior to her fall, Alhaja Laguda used to go to hospitals to talk to people living with Sickle Cell anaemia, lecture them, and encourage them. She called on parents with children suffering from sickle cell anaemia to take care of the children very well, feed them well and show them lots of love.

“This will make it easier for them to live with the disease. When it is cold, keep them warm; don’t keep them at home because they are always sick; let them go to school, it is very important,” she said.

She said she hopes to leave this earth soon, adding: “I want to go but God has not killed me, so I have no choice but live.”

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Photos: Akwa Ibom-based optician rescues little girl with Cerebal palsy, left to die in a pit toilet by her mother (Photos)

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Four months ago, the little girl pictured above was reportedly abandoned at a pit toilet in Akwa Ibom by her own mother. The little girl whose name is MmeyeneAbasi has Cerebral Palsy.

 

Her mother got tired of nursing her and abandoned the child in the pit toilet in her blind mother’s compound.

 

An optician, Benjamin Omin, pictured above with her, was alerted by residents of the community and he immediately took her to his hospital in the state where she has since been recuperating.

”When I got the call about a little child thrown off to die by a pit toilet, it jolted me and I immediately moved to the location and found her wrapped in feaces and even though she had becomed undesirable to the world around her, I saw a life waiting for help and I made myself available and today we celebrate 4months in the Majesty Hospital and Eye Clinic, 60 Barracks Road, Uyo. Akwa Ibom  State and she has recovered greatly.

A story of Hope and New Beginning” Benjamin wrote

 

Photos: Akwa Ibom-based optician rescues little girl with Cerebal palsy, left to die in a pit toilet by her motherPhotos: Akwa Ibom-based optician rescues little girl with Cerebal palsy, left to die in a pit toilet by her motherPhotos: Akwa Ibom-based optician rescues little girl with Cerebal palsy, left to die in a pit toilet by her motherPhotos: Akwa Ibom-based optician rescues little girl with Cerebal palsy, left to die in a pit toilet by her mother

Her grandmotherPhotos: Akwa Ibom-based optician rescues little girl with Cerebal palsy, left to die in a pit toilet by her mother

Photos: Akwa Ibom-based optician rescues little girl with Cerebal palsy, left to die in a pit toilet by her motherPhotos: Akwa Ibom-based optician rescues little girl with Cerebal palsy, left to die in a pit toilet by her mother

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China to kill 1,332 pigs following fresh outbreak of swine fever

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Authorities in China’s Zhejiang province said it will kill 1,332 hogs after an African swine fever outbreak was reported in the city of Yueqing, the city government said in a post on its official Weibo account on Thursday.

 

Already, authorities have sealed off an area within 3 km (1.8 miles) from the pig farming community where the deadly disease was found, according to the statement. The local government has also banned the movement of animals that can be easily infected inside and outside the affected area, and closed some live hog trading markets and slaughterhouses following the outbreak, the statement said.

 

The latest cull will bring the total number of pigs deliberately killed to prevent African swine fever to over 25,000 in an effort to control the spread of the highly contagious disease, which was first reported in the city of Shenyang in the northeastern province of Liaoning just three weeks ago.

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Graphic content: Baby born with two heads survives after one of them containing part of its brain is amputated (Photos)

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A Syrian baby born with two heads is lucky to be alive after a successful operation to amputate his second head.

Abdullatif Shekrak was born with part of his brain protruding from his head but managed to escape death after a risky operation to close the opening.

He was diagnosed with encephalocele, which is estimated to strike around one in 12,000 babies, in the womb.

The condition arises when a baby’s skull doesn’t close properly, causing a sac-like protrusion of the brain and its covering membranes through an opening in the skull.

Abdullatif was left with a mammoth 2.2lbs (1kg) mass, which appeared to look like he had a second head.

Surgeons were forced to operate on him when he was just three days old, but the complex procedure to push his brain back in proved successful.

Abdullatif’s mother Sana Hilel, of Aleppo, decided to cross the Turkish border to have her seventh child by C-section.

The 37-year-old made the 60-mile (97km) journey across war-torn Syria to Mustafa Kemal University Hospital in Antakya.

Facing almost certain death, Abdullatif was rushed to Iskenderun Developmental Hospital on the Mediterranean coast.

See more pictures below…

Abdullatif Shekrak was diagnosed with encephalocele, which is estimated to strike around one in 12,000 babies, in the womb (pictured before)

The condition arises when a baby's skull doesn't close, causing a sac-like protrusion of the brain and its covering membranes through an opening in the skull (pictured after)

Surgeons were forced to operate on him when he was just three days old, but the complex procedure to push his brain back in proved successful (pictured during the operation)

Abdullatif's mother Sana Hilel (pictured with Dr Mehmet Koparan, who performed the surgery), of Aleppo, decided to cross the Turkish border to have her seventh child by C-section

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