You are currently viewing <strong>“What I have has made me what I am today”</strong><strong> – <em>Rabi Maidunama, </em></strong><strong>Founder, Maidunama Sickle Cell Foundation</strong>
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Providing succour and support for vulnerable and indigent Sickle Cell patients. That is a summary of the various critical interventions that Miss Rabi Maidunama has been making through the Maidunama Sickle Cell Foundation which she founded to stand in the gap and cater to the needs of Sickle Cell patients. Rabi, a Botany graduate of the University of Jos, has proved to be a dependable ally of Sickle Cell patients who have come to admire, adore, and respect her for what she does consistently, passionately, and relentlessly.

Rabi is a very active player in the Nigerian health sector where she has worked tirelessly to positively affect and reshape the Sickle Cell Disease landscape. The vision of eradicating the transmission of Sickle cell disorder as well as ameliorating the suffering of victims in Nigeria is a passion she holds very dearly. For over 15 years, Rabi has remained a big voice on all matters about sickle cell disease in Nigeria.

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Through Maidunama Sickle Cell Foundation (MAISCEF),her pet NGO, she has been able to build a robust brand and a veritable platform for fighting ignorance and misinformation about Sickle cell, identifying and mobilizing resources for life-long support for sufferers as well as engaging policy-makers and stakeholders to be more responsive to the problem in Nigeria.

MAISCEF regularly organizes Sickle Cell Community Outreaches across scores of communities in North-central Nigeria. Individuals, organisations, and government agencies have gotten used to MAISCEF and Rabi’s large-heartedness and surprises during the annual World Sickle Cell Day celebrations. From solidarity walks to annual lectures, and Sickle Cell Beauty Pageant, among other laudable initiatives, Rabi is virtually all over the place advocating, canvassing, and supporting. She has also taken the Sickle Cell awareness campaign to several schools and public institutions, leading to the establishment of Sickle Cell Clubs in several locations in Nigeria. Knowledge today of Sickle cell disease and how to manage the condition has significantly improved in Nigeria in the last few years.

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Rabi has consistently focused on underprivileged children and families at the grassroots where help is almost non-existent. Because of her sincerity of purpose, simplicity, and commitment to this noble cause, she has earned tremendous goodwill, respect, and accolades from all sectors of society. Mothers of sufferers cannot forget the help that came from nowhere when their children were critically ill and hospitalized. The children that have survived such ordeals, thanks to Rabi’s surprise monthly hospital visitations, remain eternally grateful to her and God. She has been a friend indeed to even those she didn’t know from Adam!

As somebody once put it, “… Rabi has come to remind or teach government their responsibilities to the society…” This is perhaps why, politicians, governors, members of parliament, and highly placed public figures are happy to identify with her cause, support her position on issues, or provide her with overwhelming assistance anytime she comes asking for help, knowing that in supporting her, they are touching hundreds of lives out there.  

Rabi has this to say: “It may interest you to know that I am SS genotype, meaning that I was born with, and have lived with the Sickle Cell disease all my life. Surprised? Well don’t be because to me, I have known no other life than being a ‘sickler’. Perhaps, this may shock you a little as I have said it everywhere and you can quote me over and over again:  “What I have has made me what I am today”.

What does it feel like living with the sickle cell genotype? “Well, it has meant everything to me. It is the impetus for me in doing what I do: taking care of less-privileged persons who are sufferers; creating awareness to help eradicate this preventable health condition; organising outreaches to hard-to-reach communities; giving speeches and sharing my testimonies at every opportunity that I have; being the voice of the voiceless; and most of all, drawing government attention for mass action against this dreadful condition that is afflicting thousands of families within and beyond Africa”.

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She added: “When I look back over the years and look at the impact a little me has been able to make, with almost nothing, I marvel and find great solace in being able to be part of a noble cause. This is not to say that it has been all about me. No. I have merely been a vehicle or an instrument in the hands of thousands out there: fellow SCD sufferers like me; able supporters of my cause (both silently and visibly); volunteers; well-placed individuals; corporate bodies and countless organizations out there”.

The fight is on and will continue until we achieve our mission which is the complete eradication of this ailment. It is also an open invitation to everybody to join in. There is a lot for everybody to do. Rabi needs the support of well-meaning individuals and organizations. “While your kind support will go a long way to touch somebody’s life, a word of knowledge shared with a neighbour, family, or friend about SCD will mean a lot in this fight”.

Rabi can be contacted via linkedin.com/in/rabi-maidunama-4220841ab

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