Award-winning Nigerian singer Adekunle Gold has announced the launch of the Adekunle Gold Foundation, a new initiative dedicated to supporting children battling sickle cell disease across Africa.

This comes as Gold, who rose to international fame with his debut album “Gold” reaching number seven on the Billboard World Charts, opens up about his own struggles with the inherited blood disorder.

The 37-year-old artist has released four more albums since his debut, amassing hundreds of millions of streams worldwide. However, behind his musical success, he has been quietly managing sickle cell disease, a condition that causes abnormally shaped red blood cells leading to severe pain, anemia, and potentially life-threatening complications. The disease predominantly affects African populations, with Nigeria bearing the highest burden—around 150,000 babies are born with sickle cell disease annually, according to the World Health Organization.

Adekunle Gold first publicly addressed his condition in his 2022 song “5 Star,” which delves into his personal experiences with the disease. Now, he is leveraging his platform to advocate for those who share his struggle. In a candid interview with CNN’s Larry Madowo, Gold discussed his motivations and the challenges he faced growing up with sickle cell disease.

“I just really got the courage to come out and speak about it,” Gold said. “A lot of people can’t share their stories like I can. I was reflecting on my life and thought, maybe it’s time to lend my voice. People are dying, people are going through it. People can’t afford basic things that they need to sustain their health.”

Gold highlighted the significant barriers to receiving proper care for sickle cell patients in Nigeria and West Africa. “People don’t have money,” he stated. “The last outreach I did, people came to Lagos from Ilorin, 300 kilometers away, just to take drugs and check their blood pressure. This is insane. We don’t have facilities where you can just be in your place. Other countries like the UK and Canada have policies for sickle cell. Where it affects us the most, we don’t have accessible care.”

His foundation aims to bridge this gap by increasing awareness and providing support for sickle cell patients. “I want everybody to be aware of it and know how to treat people that have it. I also want people to understand that it is important to check your genotype,” Gold emphasized.

Adekunle Gold’s commitment to this cause marks a new chapter in his life and career. “I started the foundation, so you know it’s real. It’s game time from now on. I am constantly lending my voice, doing outreach, and fighting for it. I want the international community to pay attention just like they do to other diseases. Sickle cell is a big one. It affects my people the most, and I want the world to do something about it.”

With his new role as an advocate, Adekunle Gold hopes to shine a spotlight on sickle cell disease, ultimately driving change and support for those affected by the condition in Africa and beyond.

Source: Ghana/ Mensah