World Blood Donor Day-Nigeria requires innovative strategies for sufficient and safe blood supply.
Abuja, 14 June 2016 - The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire says that access to safe blood transfusion requires innovative strategies to ensure safe and sufficient blood supply, to achieve 100% voluntary blood donation and to ensure 100% quality-assured testing of donated blood. There is also a need to optimize blood usage for patient health, develop quality systems in the transfusion chain, strengthen the workforce, keep pace with new developments and build effective partnerships for safe blood.
Dr Ehanire gave the indication in a speech he delivered during a Press Conference held in Abuja on 14 June, 2016 to commemorate the World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The theme of this year’s WBDD which is ‘Blood connects us all’, focuses on recognizing blood donors and highlights the dimension of ‘sharing’ and ‘connection’ between blood donors and patients.
“While the demand for blood is growing in the developed world with longevity and increasingly sophisticated clinical procedures, national blood supplies are not sufficient to meet existing requirements in developing countries. Evidence-based strategies for blood safety and availability have been successfully implemented in most developed countries and some transitional and developing nations”, he stated.
According to the Minister, an adequate and reliable supply of safe blood can be assured by a stable pool of regular, voluntary, unpaid donors, who are also the safest group of donors, since the prevalence of blood borne infections is generally lowest among them. He posited further that It is nevertheless important to create and expand a strong base of voluntary blood donors by healthy committed youths and adults, who consistently give blood to ensure adequate supplies of safe blood throughout the year.
To grow this stream of new donors and encourage healthy donors of applicable age groups to donate more regularly, the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) has stepped up efforts at building community partnerships through the engagement of community based organizations, and the organized private sector, to create greater awareness as well as to make blood donation an integral part of their social responsibility programmes.
On his part, the WHO Country Representative, Dr Rui Gama Vaz observed that “the challenges of making sufficient, safe and quality blood and blood products available at all times from voluntary non-remunerated blood donors continue to be crucial in the African Region, Nigeria inclusive”. He therefore charged operators of media outfits to continue the sustained efforts aimed at sensitizing the public and creating awareness on voluntary blood donation.
He concluded his goodwill message by commending Nigeria for commemorating the World Blood Donors Day every year since its inception and for using it to increase awareness and collect required donated blood. He applauded the Federal Ministry of Health for the significant increase in allocations to NBTS in this year’s budget and for sponsoring the passage of a National Council on Health resolution, requiring states to establish their blood transfusion services.
Dr Vaz also thanked all voluntary blood donors in Nigeria for the non-remunerated donation of blood to save beneficiaries they do not know. “With this gesture, you are saving a child with severe anaemia, a woman with haemorrhage during or after childbirth, road accidents victims, insurgency victims and many others. You have hence demonstrated that indeed ‘Blood connects us all’”. He stated
Other planned activities to mark the occasion include media interviews at popular radio stations as well as joint blood drives in collaboration with blood safety Implementing partners. This year, a schools debate will also be held in Abuja with over 20 secondary schools discussing issues relevant to blood safety
WHO remains committed to continue to provide technical support for blood transfusion services and the Ministry of Health to strengthen service delivery and safety as well as increasing access to safe blood and blood products for Nigerians at the time of their greatest need.
For more information, please contact:
Dr Teniin Gakuruh; Tel: +234 803 979 5149; Email: gakuruht [at] who.int ( )
Ms Charity Warigon; Tel: +234 810 221 0093; Email: warigonc [at] who.int ( )
01. Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire (right) addressing journalists on 2016 World Blood Donor Day
02. The WR, Dr Rui Gama Vaz delivering a goodwill message
03. Minister (3rd right) with partners at the 2016 World Blood Donor Day