Federal government reaffirms commitment towards provision of safe blood
Abuja, 15 June, 2021 - Nigeria’s Minster of State for Health, Dr Olorunnibe Mamora reaffirms that the government will coordinate, regulate and ensure the provision of safe, quality blood transfusion services.
This, he said will be achieved through the implementation of the mandate of newly established National Blood Service Commision (NBSC).
Dr Mamora made the commitment at a Ministerial Press briefing organized by NBSC in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) to mark, World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) in Abuja on 14 June 2022..
He stressed that WBDD is not only the celebration of regular voluntary non-remunerated donors but also an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of voluntary non-remunerated blood donation, whose contributions strengthen the health system in the country.
"Despite the rise in concerns about the safety of blood units collected from commercial and family replacement donors, voluntary unpaid blood donations in Nigeria remains very low, with only about 8% of donations being attributed to it. To meet the blood needs of citizens every country must have a strong base of voluntary unpaid donors as this also ensures the safety of the blood being transfused”, he added
Every year on 14 June, the World celebrates WBDD. This year’s theme is ‘Donating blood is an act of solidarity
The Day was created to raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion;
highlight the critical contribution voluntary, unpaid blood donors make to national health systems. The commemoration of WBDD also supprts blood donor organizations and other nongovernmental organizations in strengthening and expanding their voluntary blood donor programmes by reinforcing national and local campaigns.
The day also provides an opportunity to call to action governments and national health authorities to provide adequate resources to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, unpaid blood donors and to manage access to blood and the transfusion of those who require it.
Also speaking at the media event, the acting Director-General, NBSC, Dr Omale Amedu, encouraged more non-remunerated or unpaid blood donors to key into the commission’s One-Million-Safe-Blood-Units-Initiative (OMSBUI) project to increase the nation’s blood bank.
“Our target is to ensure blood units collected will increase from the present 25,000 to one million by 2023 and three million by 2030,” he said.
In his goodwill message, WHO Country Representative (WR), Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, represented by Mr Tayo Hamzat, said “While the need for donor blood is universal, access for everyone who needs it is not.”
He noted that, with the road traffic accidents, insurgencies and other crises, demand regularly outstrips supply in the country which negatively affects timely access for all patients who need safe and quality-assured blood to save their lives.
The WR acknowledged the effort of the NBSC to improve blood donation frequency but regretted that the situation remains dire.
“In Nigeria, Mobile blood donation drives declined by 100% in the first two months of lockdown, while the number of blood units screened declined by 11.9%.
He pledged WHO's commitment to supporting the country to ensure an adequate supply of safe and quality assured blood and blood products for patients who need blood transfusions, including COVID-19 patients; through conducting the African Society for Blood Transfusion (AfSBT) on-site formal assessment, under the Stepwise Accreditation programme (SWAP).
In their separate goodwill messages, partners which included the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria and Safe Blood for Africa Foundation and others unanimously called on Nigerians to become voluntary non-remunerated blood donors to ensure the availability of blood during emergencies in the country.
Highlights of the event include a commemoration awareness Walk in Abuja to create awreness on the importance of blood donation.
Mr Hamzat Omotayo; Email: hamzato [at] who.int