… State Commemorates World Blood Donor Day, Restates Commitment To Provision OfClean, Safe Blood

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi has disclosed that the State will require not less than 260,000 units of blood annually to meet with the growing blood transfusion demand at healthfacilities in the State.

Abayomi, who disclosed this today, through a Zoom Live Feeds organised by the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service (LSBTS), to commemorate this year’s World Blood Donor Day in Lagos, noted that efforts are being intensified by the State government to meet and surpass this requirement through recruiting and retaining voluntary blood donors.

“To maintain an adequate blood supply, one to two percent of the population needs to become regular blood donors; this is about 260,000 in a growing population of over 26 million in Lagos State. The regular supply of blood is essential as the life span ofblood is very short. Each unit of blood donated remains viable for 35 days. Thankfully, we are working hard in partnership with the public and private sector, non-governmental organisations, religious bodies and youth organisations to achieve this target number”, he said.

Speaking on the theme of the year 2020 World Blood Donor Day; ‘Safe Blood, Saves Lives’ with The Slogan “Give Blood And Make The World A Healthier Place”, the Commissioner said that encouraging and promoting voluntary blood donation in a safe and conducive environment is the goal of the State government.

He said, “This year’s theme has come at a time the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the various phases of lockdown and travel restrictions have brought about some challenges to our blood donation drives. The need for blood transfusions and medications based on blood components has, however, continued despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The LSBTS voluntary blood donation centres were open all through with an extension in our opening hours”.

“Scientifically, there are no confirmed reports of Coronavirus being transmitted by blood transfusion anywhere in the world and strict additional safety measures including more handwashing sites, use ofhand sanitisers, use of personal protective equipment as well as ensuring that social distancing is kept are being practiced at the blood collection sites for donors and staff”, Abayomi added.

He explained that making the world a better place is not only about blood collection from donors or its transfusion, but the collection of convalescent plasma from those that have recovered from COVID-19 infections in preparation for an interventional study in the treatment ofpatients with severe COVID-19 infection.

While noting that there is no substitute forblood, the Commissioner stressed that the lives of hundreds of patients including pregnant women, children with severe anemia, accident victims, patients with cancer and haemoglobinothies are saved by blood transfusion, submitting that adequate and timely supply of safe blood is needed to continue helping those people who are in need of blood transfusion.

“We, therefore, cannot overemphasise the need to ensure the availability of blood in our blood banks where patients, who require blood transfusion, can be readily supplied. While I would like to say a big thank you to all voluntary blood donors who have made it a duty to give the gift oflife – blood, I would also like to use this medium to encourage citizens who arehealthy and fit, aged 18-65 to please give blood. People in good health who have never given blood, particularly young people, should begin to do so”, the Commissioner appealed.

Speaking in the same vein, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service (LSBTS), Dr. Bodunrin Oshikomaiya, said the campaign to increase voluntary blood donation drive has been intensified and sustained to meet with the blood transfusion needs in Lagos State.

She noted that LSBTS is working with the World Health Organisation to improve access to blood transfusions and promote blood safety, focusing on four key areas which include: centrally coordinated blood transfusion service, collection of blood exclusively from voluntary donors from low-risk populations, testing of all blood forcompatibility and transfusion-transmissible infections, and reduction of unnecessary transfusions.

“Blood safety involves all activities related to blood collection from low-risk, regular, voluntary unpaid donors as well as testing, processing, storage and distribution ofblood. The LSBTS, governed by the national blood policy and the Lagos State legislation, promotes uniform implementation of standards and consistency in the quality and safety ofblood and blood products”, Oshikomaiya said.

She added that health workers involved in blood transfusion have been trained on documentation, quality assessment and on the rational use of blood and blood products to reduce unnecessary transfusions.

“Over the years, training of staff on documentation, quality assessment and rational use of blood and blood products to reduce unnecessary transfusions, to minimise the risks associated with transfusion, to encourage the use ofalternatives to transfusion, where possible, as well as training on safe and good clinical transfusion practices have been going on in the State health facilities”, the Executive Secretary said.

Expressing delight that many citizens are responding positively to the clarion call to donate blood voluntarily, Oshikomaiya noted that the increase in voluntary blood donors is a testament that citizens now recognise the importance of blood donation and transfusion in saving lives.

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