Blood Donors’ Day: ‘Thank You For Saving My Life’ | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Blood Donors’ Day: ‘Thank You For Saving My Life’

Posted: Jun 14, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Yinka Shokunbi Lagos

On Tuesday June 2, suicide bombers reportedly struck for the umpteenth time in the North-east but it was perhaps the first time in Yola, capital of Adamawa State at the popular Jimeta cattle market killing about 30 people and injuring several others.

A Donor

A Donor

What was perhaps disheartening about the attack was the distress call to members of the public by the authority of the Federal Medical Centre where the injured were taken appealing for urgent blood donation to save the lives of the injured.

Each time there was any mass disaster in the country, most of the injured often lose their lives due to non-availability of blood and blood products for immediate transfusion.

“Most Nigerians are still not voluntary blood donors and it has continued to be the major reason why many accident victims, victims of mass disasters and pregnant women die from complications which could easily have been averted if there was availability of blood for prompt transfusion at the time of need”, says Dr Adetoun Agbe-Davies, Chairman of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee (LSBTC).

Speaking on the theme of the 2015 World Blood donor’s Day, Agbe-Davies noted, “in the realization that safe blood starts with the donor, recruitment of voluntary donors is a major activity of the LSBTC.

“This is because this category of donors has blood that is free from transmission transmissible infections. These people are often repeat donors and help to ensure that safe blood is available”, Agbe-Davies said.

Since 2004, the world has continued to set aside June 14 annually to raise the consciousness of everyone to the importance of blood to life and to educate on why it is better and safer for individual donors to volunteer blood donation.

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”.

Nigeria has had to deal with the challenge of ensuring that its public health facilities have sufficient stock of blood in the blood bank.

A former chairman of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee, Ibironke Akinsete who is a retired Professor of Haematology & Blood Transfusion, recalled how it was tough for people living with HIV/AIDS and sickle cell disease to get safe blood transfused in times of crisis “in the early years of HIV/AIDS because there were no safety regulations on how to make safe blood available in the laboratories”.

According to her, “it took concerted efforts of experts in hematology to convince government to adopt blood safety procedures and Lagos became the first State to enact regulations on safe blood in 2004 and I became the first chairman of the blood transfusion committee in 2005.

“And really every healthy adult between the age of 18 and 60 years can donate blood provided they are screened and found to have sufficient blood level and do not have any disabling disease. A woman who is menstruating or has just menstruated cannot donate blood likewise a pregnant woman or an anemic or aged with heart conditions among others cannot donate blood”, said Akinsete.

Agbe-Davies, the current chairman of the committee explained to Daily Independent, that Lagos State Law No 10 of June 2004 which established the LSBTC empowers the Committee to regulate and coordinate blood transfusion service in Lagos State under the supervision of Lagos State Ministry of Health.

According to her, “The LSBTC has the major functions of organization of voluntary blood donation campaigns, ensuring that all blood is screened of Transmissible Infections, preparation of blood products, regulation of transportation of blood and blood products in the State, registration, accreditation, regulation and supervision of the blood transfusion services including the facilities throughout the State, in both the public and the private sectors”.

Adding also, “every blood is also tested for compatibility with the blood of those who require transfusion; it is also separated into various components in such a way that one unit of blood can save up to three lives”.

She explained, “A pint of blood can be separated into various components referred to as blood products and can be used for more than one individual because everyone in need of blood would not necessarily need the same thing.

“Some individuals would only need red cells, some others would need the plasma while some others would just need to be transfused with the platelets depending on the disease condition of each person”, said Agbne-Davies.

A blood product is defined as any component of the blood which is collected from a donor for use in a blood transfusion. Whole blood is uncommonly used in transfusion medicine at present; most blood products consist of specific processed components such as red blood cells, blood plasma, or platelets.

The chairman disclosed that the state presently has 25 blood banks in its public facilities and 87 private registered blood banks regulated by the Committee.

“All of them are required to renew their registration annually. Blood Transport Boxes have been issued to the hospitals and blood banks to enforce regulations on the transportation of blood and blood products while copies of the handbook on Appropriate Clinical Use of Blood for Lagos State have also been circulated for proper guidance”, the Chairman said.

She urged intending voluntary blood donors to visit designated State owned health facilities like the General Hospital Lagos, Lagos State College of Health Technology Yaba, Alimosho General Hospital Igando, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH ) Ikeja, Gbagada General Hospital, Epe General Hospital, Ifako- Ijaiye General Hospital, Ajeromi General Hospital, Lagos Island Maternity Hospital,Randle General Hospital Surulere, Ikorodu General Hospital, and Ibeju –Lekki General Hospital.

Other  centres are located inside the premises of Apapa General Hospital Apapa, Massey Street Children’s Hospital, Isolo General Hospital, Onikan General Hospital, Orile Agege General Hospital, Badagry General Hospital, Alimosho General Hospital, Mushin General Hospital, Somolu General Hospital, Agbowa General Hospital, Ijede Health Centre, Harvey Road Health Centre, Lagos State Accident and Emergency Centre, Gbaja and Amuwo-Odofin Maternal and Child Care Centres.