.. as 2m units of save blood needed annually
.. NBTS calls for more blood donation
As Nigeria marked the 2019 World Blood Donor Day, WBDD, recently, a Medical Laboratory Scientist and the Country Director of Safe Blood for Africa Foundation, SBFAF, Dr. Idris Saliu has called on the Federal Government to pass the National Blood Bill as the legal framework to regulate blood donation practices in the country.
Saliu made this call in Abuja at a press briefing to commemorate the 2019 WBDD in Nigeria with the theme: Blood Donation and Universal Access to Safe Blood Transfusion, as a component of achieving universal health coverage and the slogan “Safe blood for all”.
He said that lack of legal framework regulates for centralised best practices on blood services in the country.
“Unfortunately Nigeria is one of the few countries that do not have legislation, and without it the practice will continue to be segmented, un-centralized with different practice.”
He said,” Nigeria is a signatory to the World Health Assembly, 44 years ago it was agreed that we would establish a National Blood Service that will be based on voluntary, non remunerated blood donation, but unfortunately to date it has not happened.”
Every unit of blood that is donated into a central blood system belongs to every Nigerian and can be accessed by any Nigerian that needs it as at when they need it.
Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mohammad Abdullahi has announced that Nigeria needs at least 2 million units of blood annually, adding that without which touting and racketeering would continue to thrive in the country.
Abdullahi said, “With a population of over 180 million, Nigeria’s estimated blood need is about 2 million units per annum. Unfortunately, much less is currently donated leading to avoidable deaths, morbidities or ill health, particularly amongst our women folk, new-borns and children, victims of road traffic accidents and insurgencies.”
“For as long as the demand out strips the supply, touting and racketeering of blood and blood products will continue to thrive. This situation can improve if only 1% of our country’s adult population commit themselves to voluntary non-remunerated blood donation on a regular basis.”
The Permanent Secretary further announced that NBTS is set to migrate its blood screening platform from a semi-automated system to a fully automated system at its centres in Abuja and Jos, adding that one Architect i1000SR equipment has been installed at each of these two centres.
This equipment has a shorter turn-around time and will ensure the availability of blood units screened for the mandatory four transfusion transmissible infections (HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis) within twenty-four hours, he explained.
Meanwhile the National Coordinator of National Blood Transfusion Service, NBTS, Dr. Oluwatoyin Smith has called on Nigerians for to donate more blood as a way of having enough to treat emergencies cases and to prevent mortalities.
In an exclusive interview with Nigerian Pilot in her office in Abuja Smith said, “Blood donation is significant because what we want to achieve is that our hospitals where blood donations take place have enough blood to treat emergencies because when there is an emergency like surgical or after delivery safe blood is needed to save such lives.
Citing instances of complications, she said, “One of the greatest complications after delivery is post- partum haemorrhage and when the bleeding starts it doesn’t stop until you transfuse blood.”
According to her in such situations there is need to have these “safe bloods” available, screened and ready for use.
She said that sickle cell, cancer patients who need regular blood transfusion due to blood level drops; also road accident victims, bomb blast victims, trauma patients, babies and children with chronic malaria also need prompt blood tr