Dr. Titus Okwudili Onyia, MD, BVM Hospital, Okota, Lagos does not bother transfusing women who lost blood at childbirth any more. He gives them mega-doses of Jobelyn, checks their Hb/PCV level after a few days and is gratified by the outcome.
– A Testimonial from a Lagos hospital
The Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) Hospital, Okota, is located in a high density segment of Nigeria’s economic capital, Lagos. Here, the gap between rich and poor is stark but there are hardly any undercurrents of tension between the haves and the haves-not.
In this environment, infections are rife; and for those with sickle cell disorder, malaria and typhoid are a constant threat, a concoction guaranteed to attract SCD crises of every sort.
Furthermore, for folks with sickle cell, characteristically short of blood, malaria parasites plunder the red blood cells, bringing the body to a hair’s breadth of heart failure and other complications of severe acute blood shortage.
In this setting, Dr. Titus Okwudili Onyia, formerly of Lagoon Hospital and Tin Can Hospital, performs his medical labour of love. Blood is expensive and in short supply.
Then a sickle cell patient whom the doctor had not seen in months brings him a sorghum bicolor-based health supplement known as Jobelyn. Uchenna (not her real name) had been taking the supplement and has not reported for crises or other matters as was the norm every one or two months year round. Dr. Onyia couldn’t quite believe his eyes.
‘Uchenna looked healthy, had gained weight and had clear bright eyes – her health had undergone a transformation,’ said Dr. Onyia.
Dr. Onyia started giving Jobelyn to all his SCD patients – and scientifically monitored their progress or otherwise. One consistent result was a dramatic rise in haemoglobin (Hb) levels from 6 or 7 to 10 or 11 on average. One of the subjects even went as high as 12.6!
All this happened within two months. The subjects’ sickle cell crises plummeted.
The doctor proceeded to prescribe Jobelyn to pregnant women and other patients experiencing low blood levels. The result was a similar dramatic restoration within a short time.
Dr. Onyia does not bother transfusing women who lost blood at childbirth any more. He gives them mega-doses of Jobelyn, checks their Hb after a few days and is gratified by the outcome.
On one occasion, when Dr. Onyia travelled for Christmas, University of Benin-trained junior Dr. Ejele tried Jobelyn on a 3 day-old who was severely short of blood.
‘Within one week,’ Ejele later reported to his superior, ‘the baby’s Hb spiked from 6 to 13.3.’