Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service (LSBTS), Dr. Bodunrin Osikomaiya has said that the State requires over 260,000 units of blood to meet the growing demand for transfusion.
Osikomaiya also noted that efforts are being intensified by the State government, through LSBTS, to ensure that all blood for transfusion is from voluntary donors.
Reiterating the commitment of the State government to ensure that only safe blood is available for transfusion in the State, she appealed to residents to donate voluntarily in order to meet the growing demand of safe blood for transfusion in all health facilities across the State.
“The demand for blood is ever-present and increasing especially with the growing population of Lagos State. At least, 260,000 units of blood yearly are required to meet our blood transfusion demand and this is according to the WHO estimate that blood donation from at least one to two per cent of the population is needed to meet their blood needs. This is why we need residents to donate voluntarily to meet these demands and save precious lives”, Osikomaiya said.
The Executive Secretary hinted that Lagos State has less than 10 per cent of voluntary blood donors, stressing that over 90 per cent of blood is sourced from replacement donors, who according to her, have a higher risk and prevalence of transfusion transmissible infections such as HIV, Hepatitis C and Syphilis.
Osikomaiya explained that the need to address the issues of commercial blood touts, demand for family replacement of blood at antenatal booking and availability of safe blood for transfusion informed the drive to ensure that 100 percent of blood for transfusion comes from voluntary donors.
According to her, “The crux of the plan is to increase the availability of safe blood by promoting voluntary blood donation, reducing activities of commercial blood touts and retaining already recruited voluntary blood donors for a sustained blood supply”.
The Executive Secretary posited that creating awareness on the vital role of voluntary blood donation towards achieving the goal of saving lives is very important to bring the number of deaths related to loss of blood to the barest minimum.
She outlined the efforts made by LSBTS to attract and retain voluntary blood donors to include promoting attitudinal change in the health personnel who attend to the donors; creating a conducive environment for blood donation; establishing blood donor centres outside of hospital premises; acquisition of bloodmobile – a vehicle for walk-in blood donation and exemption of screening fees for volunteers who require blood transfusion.
While urging citizens to imbibe the spirit of voluntary blood donation and also become regular blood donors, the Executive Secretary maintained that making safe blood available is a collective responsibility of everyone.
She, therefore, called on citizens to walk into any of the designated blood donation units in all public health facilities to donate blood voluntarily or visit the Blood Transfusion Headquarters at the General Hospital in Lagos.