TRAFFIC stood still for them as they walked from Isheri-Osun to Ikotun on Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State on Saturday to create awareness about the dangers of rhesus negative.
About 84 per cent of the human population with rhesus factor are said to be rhesus positive and the 16 per cent without are said to be rhesus negative.
It is necessary to determine if a person is rhesus positive or negative before a blood transfusion.
The crowd was attracted by the music being played from a mobile van by a Disc Jockey (DJ) accompanied by people in branded shirts and caps.
In the train were politicians, top government officials, past and present members of Lagos State House of Assembly, former local government chairmen, electoral commissioners, business tycoons, religious groups’ representatives and traders.
Many waved to them from their houses; some in private and commercial vehicles cheered them.
The campaigners distributed flyers printed in Yoruba and English to explain their mission on the road as early as 7a.m.
The walk, organised by a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Rhesus Solution Initiative (RSI), was led by wife of Lagos State Governor Mrs Bolanle Ambode, represented by wife of Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Community Development, Mrs Fatimah Bamigbetan.
Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officials and other security agencies controlled the crowd and the traffic.
It was fun all the way as many responded to the music. Some were energised to keep moving by the popular songs played by the DJ.
As people joined the train along the way, RSI Coordinator Rasaq Olorunnimbe gave them the NGO’s branded shirt and cap.
The participants’ turning at Ikotun bus stop roundabout was symbolic.
Motorists, Okada riders, passersby and traders stood still for them to pass.
The participants gathered at the Igando-Ikotun LCDA secretariat where top management of RSI, frontline politicians and government officials addressed them.
RSI Founder/President Mrs Olufunmilayo Banire, said the participants efforts gave her hope that Rhesus negative incident could be eradicated in the country.
“In our seven years of operation, we have counselled thousands of secondary school pupils, single and married women on what Rhesus incident is all about. Secondary school pupils in particular were advised to shun sex. We made them to realise that it can lead to unwanted pregnancy and ultimately abortion. We all know the consequences of abortions,” she said.
According to her, it is important for the public to know their rhesus factors, blood group and genotype.
Doing this, she said, would help in choosing spouses.
Rhesus negative women, Mrs Banire said, risk having repeated miscarriages, still births or infant death.
“Babies born to rhesus negative mothers can have Rhesus Disease, jaundice (yellowness of the eyes and skin) or retardation.
“Rhesus negative women must get Rhogam on Anti D injection 28 weeks into their pregnancies and within 72 hours after birth. They have to avoid abortion or get Rhogam injection after every abortion, miscarriage and delivery and they also must use a reliable health facility with qualified health workers for adequate care,” she said.
Mrs Banire said over 1,500 persons have benefited from the free Rhogam injection distributed by RSI.
She solicited for support from well-meaning Nigerians, saying each of the injections cost N28,000.
Mrs Ambode hailed RSI team, saying the government is proud to be associated with the organisation. She urged participants to spread the news in their communities.
RSI Vice-President Prof Adekunbi Banjo reiterated the need for people, especially women, to know their status.
All Progressives Congress (APC) National Legal Adviser Dr Muiz Banire called for concerted efforts to eliminate Rhesus factor incident.
“We have all learnt the essence of this gathering. Rhesus factor is a worldwide phenomenon. Do not let us leave its elimination in government’s hands; government alone cannot do it, hence the need for NGOs to take up the initiative. Let’s all spread the message in our locality to assist our neighbours,” he said.