By Blessing Odega
Jos, Nov. 14, 2020 The National Coordinator of the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS), Dr Omale Amedu, says donating blood asides helping to save lives, also has lots of benefits to the donor.
Amedu stated this on Saturday in Jos during the service’s top management retreat.
He said that one of the benefits of donating blood was that blood donors got to have a free medical check-up to ascertain their health status.
He also said that donating blood also helped to maintain a healthy heart, liver and kidneys.
“As blood donation helps in reducing the risk of heart and liver ailments caused by iron overload in the body; blood donation also helps to maintain the level of iron in the body.
“Donating blood stimulates the production of new blood cells and in turn helps in maintaining good health,’’ the National coordinator said.
He said males could donate blood four times annually, while females could donate blood thrice yearly.
He called on Nigerians to embrace the act of voluntary blood donation as the act not only helped in saving lives, but also had tremendous benefits to the donor.
Amedu, however, lamented that in spite of Nigeria’s huge blood supply potential due to her given youthful population, there is still a wide gap in demand and supply of safe blood units in the country.
The coordinator attributed the gap to limited awareness and advocacy for blood donations, absence of special blood donation programmes and scepticism.
The other factors he said, were deep cultural myths, misconceptions on voluntary non-remunerate blood donation by the public and lack of beliefs in blood transfusion.
Amedu further revealed that the NBTS had proposed the establishment of a national strategic safe blood units reserve for national emergencies through the one million safe blood units’ initiative as one of its 10-year strategic plan.
According to him, the initiative will be achieved through active donor participation, targeted blood donation campaigns and partnerships in order to effectively complement national wellness.
He said that it would also alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians as it pertained to Nigeria blood needs.
The national coordinator said that the safe quantity of screened blood units gotten would be quickly mobilised in the event of national emergencies and would also provide the necessary raw material for component production and manufacturing of plasma derived medicinal products.
He said the initiative would make use of aggressive media campaigns and the engagement of relevant stakeholders toward mobilising Nigerians to voluntarily make blood donations.
He revealed that the objectives of the One Million Safe Blood Units Initiative is to make available a large pool of safe blood units for the service, to reiterate government’s commitment to provide safe, quality blood to Nigerians
According to him, the objective is also to incorporate the use of modern technology to enhance blood donor mobilisation, improve blood supply reserves and ensure efficient delivery mechanisms to point of use.