Prof. Yetunde Aken’Ova, Head, Department of Haematology, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, has urged the Federal Government to establish a national blood transfusion service to encourage voluntary blood donation in Nigeria.
Aken’Ova made this charge at the symposium organised by the department to mark this year’s World Blood Day with the theme: “Blood connects us all”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the symposium is entitled: “Blood Donation is a Community Responsibility”.
She said ensuring safe and sufficient blood supplement required the development of a nationally coordinated blood transfusion service based on voluntary, non-remunerated blood donations.
According to her, a blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantities is a key component of an effective healthcare system.
She said that in many countries, including Nigeria blood service faced a lot of challenges in making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.
“An important factor in blood transfusion is for everyone to know their blood group and genotype,” she said.
Aken’Ova, however, appreciated donors of blood in the department, particularly those who had been on their donor lists for decades as well as those who newly joined the group of blood donors.
She said the UCH community and the Ibadan people could be described as a community who had made blood donations an easy and effective service in Oyo state.
In her presentation, Dr Titi Akingbola, a consultant haematologist at the department, said that Nigeria was far from reaching the targets set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in blood donation.
She said that the WHO had consistently called on countries to keep giving out blood.
“The theme for the World Blood Donor Day this year is in consonant with the targets and standards of the WHO in blood donation,” she said.
According to her, a community-based survey by the WHO revealed that one in four people needs blood in their lifetime.
“Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
“Ten per cent of a country’s population should give blood annually, but less than this figure of Nigeria’s population gives blood annually.
“1.8 million Nigerians (10 per cent of its population) should be giving blood annually, but Nigeria is far from this,” she said.
According to Akingbola, the lives and health of millions of people are affected by emergencies every year, adding that in the last 10 years, disasters have caused more than 1 million deaths in the world.
“Natural disasters such as earthquakes, flood and storms create considerable need for emergency healthcare, while often destroying vital health facilities as well.
“The objectives of the 2017 world blood donor day includes, promoting and highlighting the need to share life by donating blood.
“Other objectives include focusing attention on blood services as a community service and the importance of community participation for a sufficient, safe and sustainable blood supply,” she said.
According to her, the slogan used in the department to encourage blood donations from people is “Blood is Life”.
“If you give money, you give food, if you give blood, you give life; donate blood today,” she said.
NAN reports that highlight at the seminar included presentation of awards to male and female donors within and outside the UCH community. (NAN)