L-R: Prof. Bosede Afolabi, Founder of MRHR Collective; Mrs. Ikeolu Alabi, Mrs. Bukola Durowoju (MRHR Beneficiaries); Mr. Wunmi Taiwo, GIMM Chairman; and Evang. Adekunbi Akin-Taylor, Member of Dallas Branch of OAU Alumni, United States Photo: GIMM Lagos

Updated: OAU Alumni Dallas offers MRHR $10,000 support for Sickle Cell, reproductive health

*The Dallas Branch of Obafemi Awolowo University Alumni Association, in the United States, says the shared vision with the Maternal and Reproductive Health Research (MRHR) Collective is to build partnerships to help in improving reproductive health for women, thereby reducing Maternal Mortality Ratio in Nigeria

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Dallas Branch of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Alumni Association in the United States (US), has donated a cheque of USD10,000 to support the Maternal and Reproductive Health Research (MRHR) Collective.

The delegation of the Dallas OAU alumni, in Lagos, said the donation was part of measures aimed at providing humanitarian services and medical support for the Save Our Red Cells (SORC), otherwise referred to as Sickle-Cell Warriors in the West African country.

Prof. Afolabi (3rd left), Evang. Akin-Taylor (2nd right), and some members of the GIMM OAU Alumni Branch, Lagos 

The Dallas Branch of the Alumni Association in the US disclosed it selected the Maternal and Reproductive Health Research Collective as a beneficiary group, based on the similitude of ideas of the University’s alumni body and the MRHR Collective vision.

According to the alumni, the vision is to build partnerships to help to improve reproductive health for women, thereby reducing Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR).

Evang. Adekunbi Akin-Taylor, Representative of OAU Alumni Dallas Branch and pioneer Chairman of Great Ife Mainland Metro Branch, in Lagos, led the visiting group which included some Executives and some other members of GIMM and students of Charlie-Marie Schools for the donation.

Akin-Taylor said: “As an alumni organisation of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, we at the Great Ife Alumni Association, Dallas, in Texas (USA) Branch, are committed to driving a 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.”

She stated “SORC’s main objectives involve sponsoring and organising 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 Association’s donation, Prof. Bosede Afolabi, Founder and Chairperson of Maternal and Reproductive Health Research (MRHR) Collective, expressed delight at the gesture.

A renowned Obstetrics and Gynaecology expert with particular specialisation in Sickle Cell pregnancies, and graduate of OAU, Prof. Afolabi said: “As a proud fellow Great Ife alumna, 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 Branch.”

She also stated: “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 supports like this.”

Some beneficiaries of MRHR Collective, who were present to witness the cheque donation and presentation ceremony, were elated at the support given to the healthcare organisation.

Mrs. Ikeolu Alabi, a Sickle-Cell Warrior and mother of twins, narrated how she connected with the MRHR Collective during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, and the attention accorded her.

Her enthusiasm was palpable as she could not hide her emotions.

Mrs. Alabi said: “I 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 has gone beyond that of service.”

She noted “this place (MRHR Collective) has shown me love, care and comfort, which many SCD patients often don’t get.”

Mrs. Bukola Durowoju, another beneficiary of the initiative and mother of two, also gave her testimonial about the good work of the MRHR Collective.

She expressed a great deal of satisfaction at the donation of the USD 10,000 by the OAU Alumni Association.

Mrs. Durowoju explained how the MRHR Collective has been of immense assistance to her.

“It’s been a story of sweet memories in my relationship with everyone single person at MRHR Collective.

“I must say I found a real part of me among them;  and today, I have a boy and a girl with huge support from them, standing by me all the way,” she expressed her excitement.

Likewise, Wunmi Taiwo, Chairman of Great Ife Mainland Metro, OAU Alumni Branch Lagos, was equally full of praises for the Dallas Branch. Mr. Taiwo said: “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 on the OAU campus.”

About MRHR Collective

The MRHR Collective was established 2007 to reduce the rate of pregnancy-related illnesses and deaths, and improve the reproductive health of the Nigerian women, through research, advocacy and training programmes.

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

The Pan-African Medical Journal (2022) stated about 50 million people are living with SCD globally, and Nigeria is the epicentre 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 percent of the number. Nigeria accounts for 100,000-150,000 new-borns living with SCD annually and 33 percent of the global burden of SCD.

Therefore, Nigeria occupies a strategic position in the epidemiology of SCD from the global perspective, according to report.

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