– Ismaila Olatunji Sule, Founder/CEO, TunMicro Foundation
Ismaila Olatunji Sule, 49 is Founder/CEO, TunMicro Sickle Cell Foundation, an organization helping to raise awareness about SCD/SCT in the UK and Africa. He holds an MSc in Biomedical Science and a postgraduate Certificate in Stem Cell Science and is currently a doctoral researcher in training with Walden University, USA. He speaks with Fatai Sulaiman on his organization’s effort to bring down the incidence of SCD particularly in Africa.
Sickle Cell Carrier
As a carrier of the sickle cell trait, I was well aware of the imperative of ascertaining my partner’s genotype before marriage – I didn’t want to bring children into the world to face the challenge of SCD.
TunMicro was established in 2015 with the aim of raising awareness about Sickle Cell Disease / Trait (SCD/SCT) in the community among the people of Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) groups and mixed heritage people living in the UK.
We also advance education about this genetic disorder in Africa, particularly Nigeria, as well as offering free genotype tests. We conduct practical interventions to assist communities to better manage sickle cell disease.
Since its founding four years ago, TunMicro has been helping to deepen sickle cell awareness in both the UK and Nigeria. In Nigeria, we carried out our mission in three states, viz, Lagos, Osun and Ogun. We also visited six schools in for tutorials on prevention.
Currently, we are in preparation to visit Nigeria in May 2019 to advance awareness and offer a minimum of free1000 Genotype tests to the pupils of slum2school. TunMicro now offers web and mobile access to Genotype results.
TunMicro is funded by our trustees, individuals, and well-wishers who believe in our vision. Keystone Bank has shown interest in our next charity project billed for May 2019 in Nigeria.
Anything short of genotype awareness on a continent lacking Newborn Screening policies may result in worsening incidence of SCD. Genotype testing – and awareness – is the best method of preventing and eradicating SCD in our community.
Early knowledge of genotype – along with its implications – helps children know their sickle cell status long before their reproductive age; in turn, they are empowered to make informed choices and hopefully avoid having children with SCD.