Save lives, donate blood, FG tells Nigerians with no health challenge

Prof. Adewole,

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, says 1.8 million units of blood are needed per annum in the country to save lives, and calls on Nigerians with no health challenge to donate blood.

Adewole gave the figure on Wednesday at a news conference to mark the 2017 World Blood Donor Day.

The slogan of this year’s celebration is “What can you do? give blood. give now. give often”.

He said that the campaign underlined the role every single person could play in helping others during emergency situations by giving the valuable gift of blood.

”It also reinforces the message that it is important to give blood regularly, so that the blood stock is adequate before an emergency arises.

”Emergencies increase the demand for blood transfusion and make its delivery challenging and complex, adequate supplies of safe blood units during emergencies cannot be overemphasized.

”Our limited national data indicate that voluntary non-remunerated blood donation accounts for only 10 per cent of our total blood collection.

”Family replacement donations and commercial donations account for 30 and 60 per cent respectively,” he said.

Adewole said that the situation needed to be reversed as the nation moved toward the attainment of 100 per cent voluntary non- remunerated blood donation by the year 2020.

”We are creating the enabling environment for the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) to thrive.

”A draft bill for the establishment of a National Blood Service Commission is currently being prepared by my ministry for presentation to the Federal Executive Council as an Executive bill.

”This will grant the NBTS the autonomy it requires to carry out its mandate in consonance with global best practices,” he said.

He added that regularisation of the appointments of core technical staff previously engaged on the programme was being pursued in order to ensure that relevant skills were available to optimize service delivery.

He said that the NBTS would thus have a proper mandate to provide safe, quality and adequate blood in an equitable and cost-effective manner to Nigerians.

Coordinator, National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS), Dr. Oluwatoyin Smith, said low budgetary allocation was affecting NBTS operation.

According to Smith, cost implication for the procurement of adequate supplies of blood safety consumables for one quarter amounted to a total cost of N100,196,500.

She said that this brought the cost of one unit of blood to approximately N34, 000 comprising mainly consumables and maintenance of cold chain.

”There is need to increase the Blood Access Fee from N2,000 to N5,000 per unit of screened blood particularly in the face of concomitant falling oil price,” she said.

Acting Country Director, U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nigeria, Dr. Omotayo Bolu said that every June 14, the organisation raised awareness and dispelled myths about blood donation.

“We should not wait until we have an emergency before donating, we should donate blood often.

“By donating blood, many lives are saved and hope is given to many whose situation might otherwise be hopeless.

“It also brings joy to many; you impact not only the patient whose life may depend on your donation, but also all those who depend on that patient,” she said.
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