BY CHIOMA OBINNA
ABOUT 1.5 million units of blood are required annually to take care of the estimated 170 million Nigerians, Country Director, Safe Blood for Africa, Dr. Idris Saliu has disclosed
Saliu who spoke at a training workshop for private and public laboratory scientists in Lagos, said the World Health Organisation, WHO, recommends 100 percent voluntary blood donation, but Nigeria can only boast of 10 percent.
According to him, if 170 million Nigerians should donate blood, no Nigerian will die of conditions that require blood transfusion.
“If people donate blood, there would be blood enough to go round. In WHO records for Nigeria, we need about 1.5 million units of blood, from the likes of 170 million people, that is like if every person donates blood in Nigeria we will be satisfied, but we need people to donate.
“Blood is not on the tree, nor is it like milk that we get from animals, so it has to be human blood and up till today there has not been any satisfactory alternative. Blood should not be lacking when someone is dying. Blood flows in our veins, so we should not allow any body to die of lack of blood,” he stated
He lamented dearth of statistics on blood in the country, adding that, blood is a national property that is in everybody and people should donate blood regularly because blood from voluntary blood donors is safer.
Blood transfusion service
Saliu called for a law establishing the Blood Transfusion Services. He explained that the law would specify policies, operational guide lines and other documents that would help to take the blood transfusion service to a greater height.
“We need government to take it more seriously, it is okay to establish blood services, it is also okay to fund it but one of the greatest needs of the blood transfusion service is that law.”
“There is no statistics on voluntary blood donors in the state but the blood we have is low in relation to the need for blood.”
Speaking on the training, State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, said it was geared towards increasing service delivery in the health sector.
“We want to develop the skills of our stakeholders, improve service delivery, infrastructure and build capacity so that what they deliver to clients will be better and satisfactory.”
Chairman LSBTC, Dr. Adetoun Agbe Davies said the training would ensure the quality and safety of blood transfusion in the state is guaranteed through improvement of skills of the trainees so that they can provide quality services.