Nigerians are encouraged to become voluntary non-remunerated blood donors, as data indicate that less than 5% of all blood donation in Nigeria come from voluntary unpaid donors.
Speaking at a Press briefing to mark 2021 World Blood Donor Day in Abuja, with the theme, “Give blood and keep the world-beating”, Nigeria’s Minister of Health highlighted the essential contribution that voluntary unpaid blood donation makes, to keep the world pulsating by saving more lives and improving others’ health.
The representative of the Minister, Dr Ngozi Onwudiwe said voluntary blood donation is very important towards achieving adequate supply of blood and blood products to meet the increasing demand for safe blood and blood products, which have been on the increase due to the rise in global emergencies. Dr Onwudiwe added that adequate blood supply and blood products will substantially reduce the mortality associated with life-threatening diseases, trauma cases from victims of road accidents, causalities of bomb blasts, anaemia in children, bleeding in pregnancy and childbirth women, victims of insurgency, conflict, and tragic building collapses.
Every year on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event, established in 2004, serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gifts of blood.
The highlight of the media engagement was the recognition and award given to the two highest voluntary non-remunerated male and female donors by the National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTC). The highest Nigerian male donor, Nathan Akpan, has donated 67 times, while his female counterpart, Barrister Hajara S, has donated 32 times.
In his remark during the Press briefing, Mr Omotayo Hamzat of WHO Nigeria said it has become necessary to raise awareness on the need to give blood because, over the past year, bloodstock decreased in the African Region as COVID-19 pandemic affected movement and fear of infection hindered people from accessing donation sites.
Mr Hamzat who spoke on behalf of the WHO Country Representative in Nigeria acknowledged the effort of NBTS, the National Orientation Agency, the Road Safety Corps and other development partners in their drive to ensure the availability of blood in Nigeria, especially during the pandemic. He said WHO has been supporting NBTS to develop a robust system for blood safety reporting.
“Currently, the report indicated that a total of 158,378 voluntary non remunerated blood donation were screened between January 2018 and May 2021 from federal institutions reporting in the database. WHO and NBTS also developed and rolled out a ten-year strategic plan to ensure an increase in the number of voluntary unpaid donor donations to meet the rising need for safe blood and blood products across the country, he added.
Meanwhile, the President, NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah called for extensive collaboration between the NBTS, the medical health association and other health workers association to enable the country to achieve its desired aim of improving blood donation in the country.
The 2021 edition of WBDD in Nigeria as commemorated with a Road Walk and other community engagement activities which had participation of the Nigeria Medical Association, The Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Youth Services Corps, Nigeria Red Cross Society, Civil Societies Organization and the media.