Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service (LSBTS), Dr. Bodunrin Osikomaiya has underscored the crucial importance of blood donation, outlining the LSBTS mission to ensure the provision of safe blood through voluntary contributions, meticulous screening, efficient processing, and robust regulatory measures against quackery.

Speaking at a Blood Donation Awareness Drive held recently at Marina and Eko-Idumota on Lagos Island to mark the commemoration of the 2024 Blood Donation Awareness Month, Dr. Osikomaiya disclosed that January has been dedicated to raising awareness about the need for blood donation.

She said: “This strategic initiative aims to appreciate existing donors, raise awareness, educate the public on the impact of their contributions, dispel myths, and combat the persistent decline in blood donations and shortages in blood products.

“As the New Year unfolds, January symbolises a time of fresh resolutions for many, signifying a commitment to saving lives and positively impacting personal health. Unfortunately, the blood donation rate for January 2024 in Lagos State has seen a disheartening drop of over 55%, attributed to factors such as post-holiday effects, seasonal respiratory illnesses intensified by harsh harmattan weather, and religious activities like fasting”.

Dr. Osikomaiya emphasised the constant need for blood and blood products to support various medical treatments, surgeries, emergencies, and conditions such as sickle cell disorder and chronic renal failure. Residents were urged to recognize the ongoing need and encourage potential donors to become regular contributors.

She said the blood donation awareness campaign with the theme: “YOU ARE SOMEBODY’S TYPE, DONATE BLOOD. BLOOD!!!”, highlights the universal importance of all blood groups – A, B, AB, O, with either Rhesus Negative or Positive – in saving lives.

Dr. Osikomaiya passionately implored all Nigerians to join this noble initiative, embracing the spirit of giving and compassion by contributing to blood banks. The donation process, she assured, is simple, safe, and relatively quick, involving a health assessment before donating whole blood or specific blood components like plasma or platelets using automated apheresis technology.

She explained that the choice of Marina and Eko-Idumota for the blood donation awareness was strategic due to its proximity to the LSBTS voluntary donation centre at the General Hospital, Lagos and four other blood donation clinics in state health facilities around that axis.

The drive, she said, aimed to reach a diverse audience accessing formal and informal organisations, as well as the vibrant markets. Beyond blood donation, Dr. Osikomaiya encouraged individuals to contribute to the cause by sharing information on social media, participating in community events, or organising blood donation drives in communities, schools, and workplaces.

Chairman, Lagos State Health Service Commission, Dr. Atinuke Onayiga, who also joined the awareness campaign train, lends her voice to advocate regular voluntary non-remunerated blood donation, arguing that it benefits society, ensuring a stable and safe blood supply.

She added that voluntary non-remunerated blood donation reduces the risk of transmitting infections through blood, promotes community solidarity, and saves lives by providing vital blood components for medical treatments and emergencies.

Onayiga urged both residents and citizens to view voluntary blood donation as a patriotic duty, emphasising its role in meeting the increasing blood demands of Lagos and Nigeria.

The event marked a continuation of the LSBTS’s commitment to raising awareness about voluntary blood donation.

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