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Nigeria needs 2 million blood units annually

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By Abiodun Okunloye

With over 200 million people, there is still a significant blood shortage.

During the 2024 World Blood Donor Day celebration in Abuja, the coordinating minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Mohammed Ali Pate, revealed that Nigeria requires about 2 million units of blood every year to meet the needs of its population. This statement was made at a press conference marking the occasion with the “20 years of celebrating giving: thank you, blood donors “. Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, the director of health planning, research, and statistics at the ministry, spoke on behalf of Prof. Patel at the event.

He highlighted the significant shortage in Nigeria, with an estimated annual need of 2 million units for a population of over 200 million. The lack of donations has resulted in preventable deaths and health issues, affecting vulnerable groups such as women, children, newborns and victims of accidents or violence. The minister proposed that a small fraction of the adult population, just 1%, could make a significant difference in improving the situation by regularly donating voluntarily without payment.

Consistent supply from voluntary donors is essential.

Pate stated that on the occasion of the 20th anniversary, it is essential to promote voluntary donations without compensation, improve the safety and quality of blood, increase the availability of transfusion services, and oversee facilities to ensure the safety of blood and its products. According to the minister, statistics regarding Donation in the nation reveal that over 80 percent of the blood that is gathered usually comes from family replacement as well as commercial donors.

Emphasizing the importance of having a consistent supply from voluntary donors, he stated that this is the most trustworthy and secure option compared to blood from commercial sources. He highlighted how blood and its products are now an essential component of contemporary medical procedures. He emphasised that having access to safe blood and its products is crucial for a well-functioning healthcare system and plays a vital role in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals related to health.

Government, medical experts, and the public must collaborate.

Tackling the pressing problem of scarcity in Nigeria is a crucial matter that necessitates the collaboration of the government, medical experts, and the public. Given the country’s sizable population, there is a continuous high need for transfusions, underscoring the importance of boosting voluntary contributions. Through community mobilisation and advocacy campaigns on the significance of donation, a reliable and lasting source for those requiring transfusions can be guaranteed. Donating voluntarily can have a substantial positive effect on those in need of medical help or going through complicated procedures.

Donating just one unit can significantly impact the situation by potentially saving multiple lives, showcasing the importance of this generous act. Increasing voluntary donations can help reduce the `strain on healthcare institutions and guarantee that all patients receive the critical transfusions they need in a timely manner. Educating the public about the safety and significance of donating can help alleviate fears and misunderstandings that prevent many people from participating. By dispelling myths and misconceptions, more individuals can be encouraged to come forward and contribute to this vital cause.

Related Article: Nigeria, Netherlands to fight blood shortage

Encouraging a community of selflessness and empathy enables them to establish a reliable group of committed donors ready to assist those who require help. They honour the process taken in Nigeria to encourage voluntary donations and combat blood scarcity. Recognising the kindness of donors can motivate others to join the cause, contributing to a healthier healthcare system. In unity, the country can strive towards reaching the yearly target and guarantee that each person can receive secure and prompt transfusions as necessary.


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