Halfway through this week’s UK-Nigeria online meeting, John Dada was abruptly called away to attend to the tragic and sudden death of a member of his local community. As many of you will realise, John is often referred to as Baba (father) and it is to him that many of this rural community turn at times of crisis.
This week’s particularly tragic event left a newborn baby without a father. At a more appropriate time I hope to update you further about this additional role that John finds himself in, but for now I will detail the online session – which, following some discussion, was continued in John’s absence.
For his part, John had just returned from Abuja where VSO had held a training course on Volunteer Management for its West African Partners. John was able to contribute by acting as a “resource person” for the training. He informed us that a field visit to Fantsuam Foundation was currently being held for the VSO partners from Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal, Ghana and Cameroon.
First Thursday Meeting: The date of 2nd December was confirmed, with the starting time of 10:00. It was agreed the topic will be an Introduction and Learning more about Twitter.
John had also met in Kaduna with representatives of the Michigan State University who are supporting him with aspects of his Sickle Cell Programme. In particular they are helping to supply equipment for the new laboratory whose roof is presently being fitted.
John and his team successfully screened 5,000 children for Sickle Cell, but had to suspend the sample collection as the Abuja lab was unable to process all the samples. Screening is planned to resume in January and, once the lab at Kafanchan is up and running, samples will no longer need to be sent to Abuja.
As John reported, the SC research is a joint project with parties from London, Michigan and Abuja. They will be looking at the data collected and carrying out analysis.
The long-term goal is to improve diagnosis, treatment and surveillance of sickle cell, plus febrile illness in children. The SC team wants to make Kaduna State a model of how this is to be done for the entire country. Such important research has far-reaching implications beyond Kafanchan.