BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN CITY – MINISTER of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, has lamented that only 1,130,000, units of blood are collected annually through the various types of donations as against 1,336,000 estimated number of blood units needed by Nigerians to survive.
He said the number left a deficit of 206,000 units, adding that this deficit alongside infected blood units collected via unsafe practices and from donors with high risk behaviour, had resulted to numerous preventable deaths especially among women and children and people with HIV/AIDS.
Prof. Onyebuchi who said this on the occasion of the 2012 World Blood donor Day in Benin City, added that deaths associated with lack of blood can be avoided if only two per cent of adult population committed themselves to regular voluntary non- remunerated blood donation.
The Minister whose address was read by the Edo state Commissioner for Health, Mrs Cordelia Aiwizie, said the goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) is to ensure that all countries obtain all blood supplies from voluntary unpaid donors by 2020, adding that “ in Nigeria, we are currently faced with a situation, whereby to 60 per cent of all blood donations are from commercial donors, 30 per cent from family replacement and only 10 per cent are from voluntary donors.
“In order to ensure that the maximum benefit is derived from every unit of blood donated, the Government of Nigeria has committed itself to establishing two Blood Component Production Centers in the country by the end of 2013. The two centers will serve as pilot sites while efforts are on going to scale up our services” the Minister said.
Also, the President of the Safe Blood for Nigeria Foundation, Dr (Mrs) A.Ikusemoro, noted that the shortfalls in the supply of safe blood have a particular impact on women with pregnancy and stressed the need for Nigerians to donate blood in the designated blood banks.