By Sola Ogundipe

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The Lagos State government is determined to ensure availability of safe and promptly available blood and blood products in  public hospitals in  all health facilities in the State, even as it declared zero tolerance for preventable maternal and child deaths.

The State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi who  restated the commitment during the 2019 Annual Stakeholders’ Summit of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service, LSBTS, said the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration is ensuring access to screened, certified, clean and quality blood for citizens especially pregnant women.

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Abayomi, who explained that  blood is important to human existence, said blood should be viewed as an organ and not necessarily as a liquid adding that whenever blood is being transfused, what it signifies is an organ transplant to save precious lives.

Speaking on the theme: “Strategy for  Reducing Maternal Mortality: Increasing the Blood Supply”, Abayomi said preventable death in women and children resulting from normal life procreation process caused by hemorrhage is unacceptable.

“In a place like Lagos where we have two Teaching Hospitals, 27 General Hospitals and over 300 primary healthcare centres we should not accept these preventable deaths. Lagos State shouldn’t be a place where we should be talking about maternal and child mortality rates and this is why we have declared zero tolerance for preventable deaths in mothers and babies”, he said.

Abayomi recognised the need for quality assurance in the donation and transfusion of blood adding that infection with blood related diseases as result transfusion is unacceptable.

He urged voluntary blood donors to keep it up, noting that the State government is devising modern technology to address blood shortages in health facilities across the State.

“We have embarked on integrated public awareness and sanitisation campaign through the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service to address socio-cultural beliefs militating against voluntary blood donation and we are going a step further in these campaign in our bid to educate the populace and recruit more voluntary blood donors” he said.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye explained that various strategies geared towards addressing shortage of blood  have been instituted  and implemented to increase  donor pool of voluntarily donated blood.

Ogboye noted that the overarching goal of the LSBTS is to recruit and maintain voluntary blood donors and ensure adequate supply of safe blood for transfusion in line with WHO guidelines.

Executive Secretary, LSBTS, Dr. Bodunrin Osikomaiya noted that only through recruitment of voluntary blood donors, screening  for transfusion, appropriate processing, collection,  administration, etc., could the challenges militating against blood transfusion be overcome.

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