COVID-19: Foundation urges Nigerians to embrace culture of voluntary blood donation

By Dirisu Yakubu

As part of its commitment to coordinate, regulate and ensure safe provision of quality blood and blood products in Nigeria, the National Blood Service Commission, NBSC, has flagged off the Abuja sensitization of its core mandate at a well attended event in the nation’s capital.

The commission whose activities include the recruitment and awareness of healthy members of the public for voluntary blood donations through enlightenment, media campaigns and blood donation drives, is an offshoot of the defunct National Blood Transfusion service.

In his lead presentation, on the mandate of the commission, Acting Director General of the NBSC, Dr. Omale Joseph Amedu highlighted the significance of safe and quality blood and blood products, noting that across Nigeria, “there are significant variations in the availability, quality, safety and use of blood components provided in both public and private health care establishments.”

Dr. Amedu called on healthy Nigerians to cultivate the habit of voluntary blood donation to save lives of not just the sick in need of blood but accident victims many of whom die due to scarcity of blood pints in hospitals across the land.

Speaking on the targets of the commission, the NBSC boss said, “we are targeting one million Nigerian regular unpaid blood donors, 100 per cent voluntary non-remunerated blood donors, increased innovation and use of technology as well as reduce adverse blood transfusion reactions and events.”

Blood establishments in the country, according to Dr. Amedu must be regulated because of the “the need to ensure that the quality of blood collected, screened and transfused to patients is optimal and unlikely to be a source of harm,” stressing that each single unit of donated blood and blood product is screened for the World Health Organization mandated blood-borne infections including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis.

In her welcome address, Head of Planning, Research and Statistics of the commission, Dr. Adaeze Oreh said blood transfusion has contributed to saving millions of lives worldwide, saying as a result, every country is expected to put in place “policies, a legislative framework, systems, and structures to ensure the safety, quality, accessibility, and timely availability of blood and blood products to meet the needs of all patients who require transfusion.”

She listed the expected outcomes of the sensitization program to include improved citizen engagement and contribution to a national strategic safe blood reserve, with ready access to safe blood nationwide; enhanced citizen access to safe blood as an indicator of effective health system strengthening; achievement of universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, through stakeholder participation as well as a clear demonstration of what is achievable when different organisations partner and collaborate for public good.

There were goodwill messages from the National Orientation Agency, World Health Organization, WHO, Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA amongst others.

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