Wednesday, 24 June 2015

‘Lagos is committed to achieving 100% voluntary blood donations by 2020’

To say that blood is one of the most important parts of the human system is to state the obvious. Blood is the life wire of the body and human beings cannot live without it. Without blood, we cannot keep warm or cool off. We cannot fight infections because the circulating blood is what keeps our immune system healthy and our heart pumping. 

Blood transfusion is generally the process of receiving blood products into one’s circulation intravenously. Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. Although blood transfusions can be life-saving, they are not without risks. Infections were once the main risk, but they have become extremely rare with careful testing and donor screening. Transfusion reactions and other non-infectious problems are now more common. A statement weekend, signed by Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, Assistant Director, Public Relations, Lagos State Ministry of Health, said that the State has been in the forefront of ensuring the safety of blood for transfusion. This is in line with the enactment of the Law No 10 of June 2004 which established the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee, the statement said. 
Blood Donor

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee (LSBTC), Dr. Adetoun Agbe-Davies has called on residents and individuals alike to support the drive at ensuring that 100 per cent of all blood for transfusion is from voluntary blood donors by donating and encouraging more people to donate blood voluntarily. Dr. Agbe-Davies who made this call at a media briefing in Lagos as part of activities to commemorate the World Blood Donor Day, noted that recruitment of voluntary blood donors is major activity of the LSBTC, stressing that this is in realization that safe blood starts with the voluntary donor. The World Health Organization (WHO) set a goal that by 2020, all the blood for transfusion should be 100 per cent from voluntary blood donors. When there are more voluntary blood donors, the issue of touts, antenatal donation and family replacement will not be an issue anymore. 

The Chairman stressed the need to meet the year 2020 World Health Organization (WHO) set goal that 100 per cent of all blood for transfusion should be from voluntary blood donors will go a long way in addressing issues of touting for blood donation as well as the demand for family replacement of blood through family donation for mothers at ante natal booking. Commenting, Dr. Alori Samuel of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee (LSBTC) said since safe blood starts with the donor, recruitment of voluntary donors is a major activity of the committee. According to him, this category of donors has blood that is free from transmission transmissible infections and are often repeat donors and help to ensure that safe blood is available. Samuel said: “A major source of voluntary donors is the Club 25 in our tertiary institutions. These are a group of young persons between the ages of 18 and– 25 years who have pledged to donate at least 25 times before they attain the age of 25 years.” 

The medical doctor noted that the Lagos State Chapter was launched in 2009 by the former First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola. Samuel further said that voluntary donors are processed through the eligibility criteria before donation in line with the WHO goal. He said: “They must be between the ages of 18 –and 65 years and must be physically fit. They are referred for treatment if required and given heamatinics and vitamins. According to Samuel, Lagos State is committed to the WHO goal of ensuring that all the blood for transfusion should be 100 per cent from voluntary blood donors come 2020. There are eight screening centres where blood from both private and public facilities are screened and certified with the State logo, Samuel said, adding; “these centres test every unit of blood for HIV I &II, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis as mandated by WHO using the recommended Fourth Generation ELISA screening kits.” 

The   blood is also tested for compatibility with the blood of those who require transfusion and is also separated into various components in such a way that one unit of blood can save up to three lives, the medical doctor said. The World Blood Donor Day is a global event marked every June 14. The theme for this year’s campaign and celebration is: ‘Thank you for saving my life” with the slogan: “Give freely, give often, blood donation matters.’” The campaign focuses on thanking blood donors who save lives everyday through their blood donations and strongly encourages more people , all over the world to donate blood voluntarily.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on June 18, 2015.

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