… Moves to Recruit More Voluntary Blood Donors

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has said that the State Government is poised to ensure that there is an adequate supply of clean, safe and non-remunerated blood in Lagos to meet the State’s blood requirement needs for clinical and emergency transfusion purposes.

Speaking today at a stakeholders’ symposium organised by the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service (LSTBS) to commemorate the year 2021 World Blood Donor Day, Abayomi explained that the government is saddled with two responsibilities when it comes to the provision of blood – the adequate supply of blood and availability of only safe blood for transfusion.

“As a government, we have to do two things; we have to make sure that there is enough blood in Lagos to meet all our blood transfusion requirements and it is equally important that blood is safe”, he said.

The Commissioner noted that blood is an important human organ required to keep people alive, stressing that just like other organ transplant procedures, blood transfusion is a serious medical procedure that should not be taken lightly, adding that a pint of blood, which he referred to as a liquid organ, can save multiple lives from different medical reasons. 

The Commissioner, while noting that Lagos requires 260,000 units of blood to meet its yearly blood need, revealed that the State is only able to get 87,000 units of blood leaving it with a huge shortage of blood to meet the yearly requirement.

“This is why we carry out regular and continuous blood donation recruitment drives across the State to encourage young, healthy people to give and donate blood. In giving and donating blood, you may not be there at the bedside when your blood is saving somebody’s life. You should, however, note that anytime you give blood, that you are saving somebody’s life and preventing them from being very unwell”, he added

The Commissioner stressed the importance of safe blood for transfusion, adding that blood transfusion should be geared towards saving and enhancing the lives of patients and not aggravate their medical conditions or fitness.

He said, “It is equally important that blood is safe. That is the second responsibility of government and as we perform this organ transplant of blood donation and transfusion, we have to ensure that we are giving people, who require blood, a unit of blood that is going to help them and not make them sick”.

The Commissioner noted that Lagos is tilting more towards getting blood supply from voluntary donors rather than from coerced, paid or remunerated donors, stressing that blood from voluntary donors is more likely to be safer than those given by paid donors. 

While highlighting efforts directed at encouraging voluntary blood donation, the Commissioner disclosed that the Governor has released funds for equipping the recently commissioned new LSBTS headquarters at Gbagada with modern technology. 

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, said the theme of the Y2021 World Blood Donor Day “Celebrating the Gift of Blood” is apt and well thought out, maintaining that the celebration will go a long way in encouraging more voluntary blood donors, which will help in bridging the gap of blood shortages in Lagos.

Ogboye, who was represented by the Director, Pharmaceutical Services, Mrs. Mosunmola Beckley, congratulated the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Services for the provision of clean and safe blood that has saved a lot of lives in the State.

He also applauded all voluntary blood donors who have willingly donated blood to save a life. 

The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service Dr. Bodurin Osikomaiya, acknowledged the commitment of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration to the provision of safe and adequate blood supply in the State.

She noted that the operation of LSBTS has been reinvigorated through infrastructure development, capacity building and motivation by the Governor and the HealthCommissioner for effective service delivery.

Osikomaiya stated that her agency will continue to provide services in line with international best practices and standards, assuring that LSBTS will look at the suggestions and resolutions of the symposium for better service delivery in the blood transfusion chain.

“We are poised and have been motivated to effectively carry out our mandate and I want to assure citizens that quality assurance will take the front seat as we carry out our tasks going forward”, she said. 

The high point of the event was the decoration and presentation of awards to the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Hakeem Shokunle and Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Oluwole Kalesanwo as Voluntary Blood Donation Ambassadors. 

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