Why Pyrates Confraternity identifies with Sickle Cell awareness- Awofeso

The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity), an international organisation has a dedicated medical scheme, NAS Medical Mission which provides free medical services to the needy around the world.

Sickle Cell falls under this spectrum and on several occasions in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and other Nigerian cities, NAS has conducted on its own and collaborated with other groups, SCD awareness campaigns. The organization recently donated state of the art Hb detectors to the TunMicro Sickle Cell Foundation for a free genotype verification event in Ekiti State, Nigeria.

In this interview, Pharmacist Temitope Awofeso, Capoon Zero Meridian Deck (London Branch) sheds light on the organization’s commitment to awareness on Sickle Cell Disease and other medical issues

Please can we know you?

My full name is Mr Temitope Awofeso and I am the current president of the London branch (Zero Meridian Deck) of the National Association of Seadogs (NAS)

Cults generally have a negative connotation in Nigeria - what is the perception of cults in the UK?

I do not understand how cults operate and I do not know of any cult in the United Kingdom. I am a member of the National Association of Seadogs aka the Pyrates Confraternity. The organisation is duly registered in Nigeria and other branches globally where we operate.

NAS is an advocacy and humanitarian organisation and presently has 59 branches in eight countries across four continents.

A visit to our website www.nas-int.org will show you in more details, who we are and what we do. I am proud to say that Google PLC has given recognition to NAS in the United States of America.

Why is NAS so interested in SCD awareness? How have you helped to accentuate same?

NAS is not only interested in Sickle Cell Disease Awareness, but we also actually deem it a duty, as Pyrates to bring health awareness to the general public in any domain we operate in. For example, we recently held a Zoom event on 07/04/2021 to burst the myths surrounding Covid-19 and vaccination to educate and encourage the public to get vaccinated.

We have a medical mission ( NAS Medical Mission) with a global operation that has positively impacted lots of lives.

For example, on the same day (10/04/2021) Zero Meridian donated pieces of genotype testing equipment to TunMicro. We are also supporting one of our branches in Lagos, Nigeria to deliver a prostate cancer awareness programme. (Please, see attached banner)

When did you begin collaboration with TunMicro Sickle Cell Foundation? How would you rate TMSCF's commitment to genotype sensitization among minorities in the UK?

NAS Zero Meridian started collaborating with TunMicro in 2019 during the tenure of my predecessor, Mr Emeka Akwiwu. It was his vision to bring more awareness to the issue of Sickle Cell disease because each one of us, as Africans have been affected one way or the other (either through a relative, friend or work colleague that has been or presently affected by SC).

We invited two SC charities to one of our monthly meetings where they told us what they were doing.

TunMicro was selected out of the two and that was how our journey started.

Just a few weeks after TunMicros’ selection, the CEO, Mr Ismail Sule notified us they would be carrying out a genotype testing event in Lagos, Nigeria. Zero Meridian was able to mobilise members of our branches in Lagos to support the effort.

I do not doubt TunMicro’s commitment to the continuous sensitization of the general public on SC disease. Hopefully, we can carry out a joint project in the UK before the end of 2021.

Interview by African Sickle Cell News & World Report

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