An estimated two million units of blood are required yearly to meet the demands of blood for over 200 million Nigerians, but only 500,000 units of blood are donated, the Federal Government said.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Olufunso Adebiyi, said the country’s inability to collect adequate blood leads to avoidable deaths, particularly among pregnant women who suffer from postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding after childbirth), new-born babies and children, cancer patients, victims of road traffic accidents and insurgencies.
Adebiyi who was represented by the Director General of the National Blood Service Commission, Dr Amedu Joseph urged Nigerians to willingly and regularly donate blood to enable the sufficiency of blood for those who need it stressing that men should donate every three months and women every four months.
He said, “According to the global health report, Nigeria needs an average of 2 million units of blood annually to keep the health of its about 200 million populations safe and sound. It is sad to note that out of these 200 million units of blood required as a nation, the blood service Commission collects only 500,000 units which is 25 per cent of the expected annual blood donation.”
“Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year, and can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions to live longer.”
According to the World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, blood collection remains low at an average donation rate of 5.9 units per 1000 people compared to 33.1 donations per 1000 people in high-income countries.
“Of concern is the financial barrier to accessing safe blood. In the WHO Africa Region, patients pay, on average, $ 42 out of pocket to access safe blood,” she said.
Dr Moeti said there is a need to address persistent challenges to ensure sustainable access to safe and quality-assured blood and blood products for needy patients.
“Through our collaborative efforts, we must raise adequate and sustainable funding and increase blood donation rates. We also need to build the capacity of countries to separate donated blood into its components such as red cell concentrates, platelet concentrates, fresh frozen plasma, and cryoprecipitate, and curb inappropriate clinical transfusion practices.
“The WHO Regional Office for Africa is working with partners to leverage expertise and available resources in the region to ensure improved access to supplies of plasma-derived products through the fractionation of domestic plasma,” she noted.
The Director called on governments, partners, and all stakeholders to mobilise support at district, national and regional levels to invest in strengthening and sustaining blood programmes.
World Blood Donor Day is celebrated every year on June 14 to raise awareness of safe blood and blood products, such as plasma, and highlight the critical contribution of voluntary, unpaid blood donors to save lives.
This year’s campaign slogan is “Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often.”