The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, says legislative process of the Bill for the establishment of a National Blood Service Commission is at an advanced stage and awaiting public hearing at the National Assembly.
The Minister made this known in a statement to mark this year’s World Blood Donor Day, with the theme “Safe Blood Saves Lives”.
The minister said that the National Blood Transfusion service would increase its scope of work, by scaling up its annual blood collection rate and sustaining ongoing efforts to expand the reach of its services.
According to him “The ministry is currently considering proposals for a major investment, from public and private sectors to upgrade the capacity of the National Blood Transfusion Service to enable it achieve its potential.”
“To produce blood components and plasma derived medicinal products at a commercial scale, that meets international best standards and to enter the world market. This ensures optimal utilization of each unit of whole blood collected.”
“By virtue of this campaign, on people of goodwill all over the world and here at home in Nigeria, to become life-savers by volunteering to join the people who regularly donate blood to make safe blood available to everyone in need of it.
He said that most low-and middle-income countries struggle to make safe blood available to their citizens,
“The need is universal because safe blood is a critical and indispensable healthcare requirement nowadays, both for treatment and urgent interventions.
“It plays an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care, especially bleeding after delivery, in severe anaemia, sickle cell disease and in saving the lives of victims of major accidents and emergency situations after natural or industrial disasters. Blood transfusion is also key at most complex surgical operations”. Ehanire said
He said that “because the quantity of blood donation is insufficient and the standardized equipment for testing blood is expensive and scarce.
Globally, 42% of blood collection and use is in high income countries, who constitute just 16% of global population”.
Dr. Ehanire also noted that during this COVID-19 pandemic, the supply of safe blood is at risk, because regular blood donation drives have had to be postponed or deferred, and regulations for self-isolation, lockdown and fear of infection have hindered the usual blood donors from accessing blood donation centers.
“Transport and trade restrictions have also led to disruptions of global supply chains, putting countries at risk of shortages of critical supplies and equipment used for blood donation, processing, testing and transfusion, to patients in need of blood”. He said.
The minister also said that with a population of over 200 million, Nigeria’s estimated blood need is about 2 million units per year but unfortunately, much less than that is currently collected, leaving unmet needs that lead to avoidable deaths, morbidities and ill-health.
“You can help change this”. The minister appealed.
Your involvement and support will help to ensure greater impact for World Blood Donor Day, increase the worldwide realization that giving blood is an act of solidarity and service to mankind and that services providing safe blood and blood products are an essential element of respectable health care systems”. Ehanire added.
The World Blood Donor Day; a day set aside each year on the 14th of June, to recognize and thank blood donors worldwide and especially here in Nigeria, as well as to raise awareness among citizens on the global need for, and importance of, safe blood.
The slogan for this year’s World Blood Donor Day campaign is “Give blood and make the world a healthier place” has been adopted to focus on the notion that blood is life and that donors give the gift of life to others.
Blood donation is therefore needed all over the world to assure individuals and communities of access to safe and quality-assured blood and blood products whenever the need arises