The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Enahire has called on Nigerians to join in the campaign for blood donation in the country.
The minister who made the call in Abuja, at a media conference to mark this years World Blood Donor Day noted that
commitments of Nigerians towards blood donation would help to save lives and improve the health of others.
The minister, represented by the Director of Hospital Services in the ministry, Dr Ngozi Onwudigwe, said adequate supply of blood and blood products would reduce mortality associated with life-threatening diseases.
“Given the rise in emergencies globally, the demand for safe blood and blood products has been on the increase and therefore, access to safe, quality, and affordable blood and blood products is crucial. It is important that we have adequate supply of blood and blood products to meet this increase in demand.”
“About 118.5 million blood units are collected annually worldwide with only 15% from voluntary unpaid donors. Here in Nigeria, less than 5% of all blood donations come from voluntary unpaid donors.”
According to the minister, ” In Nigeria, the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) is charged with the mandate of regulating, coordinating, and ensuring safe, quality, and affordable blood and blood products to all who may need it.”
“In order to achieve its mandate, NBTS has rolled out a Ten-year strategic plan which includes the One Million Safe Blood Units Initiative to ensure an increase in the number of voluntary unpaid donations in order to meet the rising needs for safe blood and blood “products across the country.”
Representative, of the World Health Organisation , Dr Omotayo Hamzat, called for improved blood donation to save lives and improve health.
He called for the presidential accent to the National Blood Transfusion Service bill, recently passed by the National Assembly.
On his part, the National Blood Transfusion Service, National Coordinator, Dr Omale Amedu, said the agency was committed to regulating, coordinating and ensuring safe, quality and affordable blood and blood products in the country.
The events also witnessed the recognition of two voluntary unpaid blood donors for consistently donating to the National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS) blood bank.
Those recognised are Mr Nathan Akpan who had donated blood 67 times, and a lawyer, Ms Hajara Isa, who won in the female category with 32 times blood donation.
The theme for this year’s campaign is aimed at the very essence of voluntary unpaid blood donations as the “Live-wire” of mankind and reiterates its life-saving function with the slogan “Give blood and keep the world beating.
It highlights the essential contribution regular voluntary blood donors make to keep the world pulsating by saving lives and improving the health of others.