Sickle-cell disease (SCD), also known as sickle–cell anaemia (SCA), is a hereditary blood disorder, caused by an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin found in red blood cells leading to a propensity for the cells to assume an abnormal, rigid, sickle-like shape under certain circumstances.
Asiata Onikoyi-Laguda, is believed to be the oldest sickle cell patient in the world. She celebrated her 90th birthday November 1, 2015, an achievement that is clearly in defiance of science. She was born in November 1925, at a time when the average life expectancy of people living with sickle cell disorder was just 5years and today older than all known (documented) sickle cell patients in the world.
According to a New York times report, in modern times, the life expectancy for these patients can reach 50 years and over. In 2013 alone, 176,000 people lost their lives to sickle cell disease, most of them aged 21 years and under.
Born to AbdulYekeen Ishola Onikoyi, a prince of the Onikoyi ruling house, and Aishat Alake Onikoyi from Kudeti, Ibadan,she is the second of four children. Due to the level of illiteracy at her time, she was never diagnosed as a sickle cell patient although she suffered terrible pains, which could not allow her attend school, till she was aged12. All through her primary education, she struggled hard and later proceeded to Queens College where she met her husband Bolaji Alakija, who went on to become a doctor.
He treated her for sickle cell, but never revealed much to her about her condition, which was how it was in those days. Onikoyi who is a devout Muslim has performed the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, thirteen times and is still very strong, taking public transport and not necessarily following diet restrictions.
She enjoys reading the Bible and Quran daily. Every year in sub Saharan Africa, more than 300,000 children are born with the sickle cell disease.
UPDATED BY BEN TV LAGOS.