BY PRUDENCE IJAH, ABUJA
In a bid to develop a sustainable system for safe blood donations in Nigeria, Trauma Care Foundation International (TCIF) has advocated for more Nigerians to embrace voluntary (unpaid) blood donation as a regular lifestyle to help strengthen the availability of safe blood products in the country.
The organization also said that only 10 percent of Nigerians donate blood voluntary adding that the culture need to change.
The Senior Executive Officer of the foundation, Dr Olajumoke Akinsanya, who represented the Chairman of the Board of TCIF made this disclosure in Abuja on Tuesday at a briefing to raise awareness on the voluntary blood donation registration and blood drive that will take place in multiple locations in various parts of the country on June 30th.
Dr Akinsaya stated that there is a major deficit on non-remunerated donors. She said that “less than ten percent of all blood donated across the country is from unpaid donors, while over ninety percent of blood donation is from Commercial blood donors, hence the need to recruit ten thousand voluntary blood donors across the country”.
Speaking on the criteria for blood donation, she added that meeting the minimum PCV is crucial, and the hemoglobin has to be right before any donation is carried out while transmissible disease is tested for before before anyone donates blood.
The Trauma Care Foundation International Abuja Chapter coordinator Dr Christopher Otabor added that blood donation has to be in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) standard for safe and quality blood products transfusion as this standard when strictly adhered to will reduce cases of transmission of diseases through blood transfusion.
According to Dr Otabor, the (WHO) standard recommends that blood should be tested with the elianza technology which detects HIV infection within twelve to fourteen days unlike the rapid test kit which only reveals HIV infection after forty two days. He hinted that the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) utilizes the WHO standard of blood screening while hospitals utilize the Rapid test kit which increases chances of disease transmission.
While admitting that a regulation is needed to check mate the sharp practices in blood donation business in Nigeria, Dr Otabor stressed that blood products are not sold at NBTS as only a token is paid for the screening of the blood product.
Dr Christopher Otabor who is also the Medical Director of Alliance hospital said the voluntary blood donation registration and blood drive in Abuja will hold in two locations, specifically at the NBTS office and at Alliance hospital, while the blood drive will hold in other parts of the country at NBTS offices and designated locations.
The Acting Coordinator of the National Blood Transfusion Service Abuja Centre Janet Agba said the importance of having registered non remunerated blood donors cannot be over emphasized, as it will help reduce cases of risky behaviour amongst the donors and help encourage adoption of healthy lifestyles by the donors.