Nigeria to establish blood transfusion service commission

Gloria Essien Abuja

Nigeria’s Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole says a draft bill for the establishment of National Blood Transfusion Services commission will soon be submitted to the Federal Executive Council.

Professor Adewole said the status of a commission will avail the National Blood Transfusion Services the full autonomy it requires for optimal operation to achieve the essence of its establishment.

He was speaking in Abuja as Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2017 World Blood Donor Day on June 14.

The Minister of Health called on Nigerians to embrace blood donation as the blood would come handy during emergencies.

“Emergencies increase the demand for blood transfusion and make its delivery challenging and complex. Adequate supplies of safe blood units during emergencies cannot be overemphasized. It reduces the incidence of mortality arising from severe acute blood losses following obstetric emergencies, trauma especially during road traffic accidents, bomb blasts, collapsed buildings to mention a few. It also requires a well-organized blood service, which can only be ensured by engaging the entire community and a blood donor population committed to voluntary unpaid blood donation throughout the year,” he explained.

Professor Adewole pointed out that globally, about 108 million units of blood are utilised per annum.

 “With a population of over 180 million, the estimated blood need in Nigeria is about 1.8 million units of blood per annum. Unfortunately, much less is donated leading to avoidable deaths and morbidities particularly amongst our women folk, newborn children, victims of road traffic accidents and insurgencies,” the Minister noted.

Voluntary non-remunerated blood donation
He said that the situation could improve if up to 1% of Nigeria’s adult population commit themselves to voluntary non-remunerated blood donation on regular basis.

“Our limited national data indicate that voluntary non-remunerated blood donation accounts for only 10% of our total blood collection. Family replacement donations and commercial donations account for 30 and 60 percent respectively. This situation needs to be reversed as we move towards the attainment of 100% voluntary non- remunerated blood donation by the year 2020,” the minister adviced.

Also speaking during commemoration of the 2017 Blood Donor Day, the Country Representative of WHO, Dr. Wondi Alehu described blood transfusion as an essential component required for efficient health care services.

He urged stakeholders to strengthen advocacy for voluntary blood donation.

Increased Awareness
The National Coordinator of the National Blood Transfusion Service,  Dr. Oluwatoyin Smith,  said that due to increased awareness, more Nigerians are coming forward to donate blood voluntarily.

She said people do not need to wait for emergencies to occur before donating blood as “no one knows who might need blood tomorrow.”

There were goodwill messages from the American Centre for Disease Control and other stake holders.

The slogan for this year’s celebration is “give blood, Give it now and Give it often.”

Confidence Okwuchi