Ahoy, Seadogs! Why Pyrates Confraternity Identifies With Sickle Cell Awareness

An international organization, the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has a dedicated medical arm which provides free medical services to needy populations around the world.

Dr. Olatunji Sule FIBMS, Founder, TunMicro Sickle Cell Foundation (left) receives donation from Pharm Temitope Awofeso, Chairman, NAS, Zero Meridian Deck, UK). TunMicro is committed to genotype verification/SCD awareness in Nigeria and among ethnic minorities in the UK

Sickle Cell falls under this spectrum. On several occasions in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and other Nigerian cities, NAS has conducted or collaborated in SCD awareness campaigns and walks. 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, President of the London branch (Zero Meridian Deck) of the National Association of Seadogs (NAS), speaks of the organization’s commitment to sickle cell and other medical issues:

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 organization is duly registered in Nigeria and other branches globally.

NAS is an advocacy and humanitarian organization 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 detail, 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 intensify 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 in April 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 (April 2021) Zero Meridian donated two pieces of genotype testing equipment to TunMicro, we were also supporting one of our branches in Lagos (Hawkins Deck) to deliver a prostate cancer awareness programme.

Pharm Temitope Awofeso

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, Emeka Akwiwu. It was his vision to bring more awareness to the issue of Sickle Cell disease because each one of us, as Africans has been affected one way or the other (either through a relative, friend or work colleague that has been or presently affected by Sickle Cell).

We invited two Sickle Cell 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, Dr. Ismail Sule notified us they would be carrying out a genotype testing event in Lagos, Nigeria. Zero Meridian was able to mobilize 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 SCD.

The National Association of Seadogs was founded in 1952 at the University of Ibadan by a group of 7 undergraduates led by Wole Soyinka.


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