By Chioma Obinna
As the world yesterday marked World Blood Donor Day, World Health organisation, WHO, has called for increased regular blood donations from voluntary, unpaid donors with a view to saving millions of lives annually.
Meanwhile, Lagos State Government has urged Lagosians to support its voluntary blood donation drive in order to ensure that 100 percent of all blood for transfusion in the state is from voluntary blood donors.
Available statistics have shown that Nigeria will require approximately 1.4 million units of blood annually. However, the unit processed by the National Blood Service is put at 54,392,000 from its 17 fully operational stand-alone blood centres spread across the six geo-political zones of the country.
In a statement by WHO to mark the day with the theme Thank you for saving my life, the health body encouraged donors all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly with the slogan Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.
In the statement, the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan said the best way to guarantee a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood products for transfusion is to have a good supply of regular donations by voluntary unpaid blood donors.
According to Chan, “transfusion of blood and blood products help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions to live longer and maintain a higher quality of life, and it supports complex medical and surgical procedures.
“Transfusion has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during man-made and natural disasters, such as the recent earthquakes in Nepal.
“Severe bleeding during pregnancy, delivery or after childbirth is the single biggest cause of maternal death.”