Holy Grail At Last?

A very reluctant Sickle Cell News Editor goes investigating a ‘solution’ to SCD – and comes away persuaded the Holy Grail may be HERE AT LAST!

My name is Ayoola Olajide, editor of Sickle Cell News. As a health journalist with special interest in SCD, I have investigated all sorts of cures for SCD – including those supposedly brought about by prayer/divine intervention and been disappointed 10/10.

A Personal Story

At one time or another in my life, I have submitted myself – or made to submit myself – for similar therapies.

As a child I attended Christian revivals to obtain relief from SCD. My parents cast aside their Christian doctrines and consulted Islamic stargazers (aworawo) and Ifa diviners (babalawo) to get me a measure of freedom from my perpetual tendency to be ill. In 1979, I was taken to Lanlate, a remote town in Oyo State to try traditional medicine. Part of my regimen was to suck in liquids using the tubular bone of a wild animal.

In September 1984, while my mates were at National Youth Service Orientation Camp, I was in the hospital of ‘Dr.’ Grace Obazee at Iyana Ipaja, Lagos. Dr. Obazee’s slogan was – surgery without knives, acupuncture without needles. He could cure virtually every illness, he said.

His PRO was a respected and well-known flutist, Tee Mac, which was reassuring. Treatment fee was steep – my family paid about N3000 – enough money to purchase a brand new Urvan Bus at the time.

After months of care under Obazee, I had a helluva SCD crises that put paid to my dreams of a cure!

Around the middle of 1985, the Daily Times published a very misleading front page story CURE FOUND FOR SICKLE CELL. It was a report based on the expected outcome of clinical trials being conducted by then Dr. Gabriel Ekeke of the Biochemistry Dept, University of Port Harcourt. For the next one year, I travelled to Port Harcourt to see Dr. Ekeke. It turned out we were merely subjects for the first herbal supplement for SCD, now widely used in Nigeria, but certainly not a cure!

In 1988, my fiancée persuaded me to consult Mr. Orirhi Ejeba Snr. We were already engaged when we discovered she carried the sickle gene. Mr. Ejeba wrote a health column for one of the popular weekly magazines in Lagos. He claimed he could cure SCD.

At Mr. Ejeba’s home, I balanced myself on a turtle as he pelted the wall behind me with raw eggs.

Divine Intervention/Laboratory Error

As a journalist, I met with folks who asserted divine intervention had changed their genotype to AA or AS. I would beg them for a retest and their Hb would revert to the original: the laboratories were culpable in underwriting the errors of the religious institutions!

The All-Consuming Quest For A Cure

The quest for a cure or permanent relief from SCD is not limited to a particular social or educational stratum. I know top politicians, government officers, law enforcement and armed forces personnel and university dons seeking a cure for their children. I know pharmacists and doctors and nurses who have turned away from orthodox medicine for a reprieve for their suffering children. A genetics lecturer once sought my advice whether she should take her son for traditional treatment. This demonstrates that after trying everything, the African will go back to his roots for a solution to intractable problems.

The Medical Doctor From Ireland

I don’t remember exactly how I came in contact with Dr. Ogun Dafidi*** (mid 2018). He called and told me that a potent, herbal, permanent solution for SCD had been found and that it had been tested on many Africans with SCD in Ireland.

I googled his name and found that he graduated from the University College Hospital, Ibadan and had migrated first to South Africa and then to Dublin to practice. A real brain drain doctor!

I was more willing to believe in a herbal medicine if an orthodox practitioner endorses it than I was willing to accept an orthodox medicine okayed by a traditional medical practitioner.

(***not his real name)

The Naturopathic Doctor From Ireland

Early in 2019, I began to chat with Dr. Believe Osiuwhu. I was dismissive of his claims – indeed I had decided that SICKLE CELL NEWS will no longer investigate claims of herbal or divine cures/solutions of any kind.

After a few months of holding out, some members of a local Sickle Cell Club independently pressed me to look into a post they chanced upon on Facebook. The phone number was the same as the Dr. Osuiwhu’s I had been chatting!

Reluctantly, I went to see the naturopath at his Lagos clinic. In the course of our conversation, I discovered he was the producer of the herbal solution and Dr. Dafidi, impressed by the results, had offered his services as a collaborator. They had met in Ireland.