Nigerians must imbibe the culture of voluntary blood donation with a view to assisting blood banks to readily provide patients with required blood type and help in reduction in morbidity and mortality rates in the country.
President, Rhesus Solution Initiative (RSI), Mrs Olufunmilayo Banire who identified poor voluntary blood donation as a major challenge of Rhesus negative mothers, lamented the problem of incorrect diagnosis of the Rhesus factor in the country – a development fraught with complications.
Banire who spoke in Lagos said Rhesus disease is a condition which affects an unborn baby when its mother’s immune system generates- antibodies which attack the baby’’s red blood cells.
“Pregnant women do not display any symptoms, but babies born with this disease often have anaemia and jaundice. Rhesus disease was once very common in women with certain blood types, but is now relatively rare, as it can be prevented with a simple injection. This condition is also called Rh (D) disease, or hemolytic disease of the newborn.
“We will be taking it up with the Association of Medical and Laboratory Scientists to encourage their members to do the blood group testing with great caution and professionalism. Banire who further identified a lot of challenges militating against rhesus negative mothers called for more awareness on the problem of rhesus disease.”
On funding and availability of treatment injection which is Anti-D Immunoglobulin injection, she said the injection costs N11,000- N13, 000 per shot and this may be a big problem for an average woman who cannot afford it. “We are imploring Nigeria government corporate and other bodies or organisations as well as individuals to assist in providing the injection freely or at a much discounted price in our hospitals.”
Also known as Haemolytic Disease of the Newborn (HDN) it is one of the contributing factors to the high rate of infant mortality and maternal morbidity in Nigeria.
She said RSI was established to reduce rhesus incompatibility and its associated complications through awareness and promotion of good quality preventive and management strategies by advocacy and practice pledged that RSI would ensure that Rhesus incompatibility will no longer count as a cause of infant mortality and maternal mortality in Nigeria in the next 10 years. Increasing awareness before marriage would help reduce the incidences.