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Nigeria, Netherlands to fight blood shortage

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Blood availability will be increased while rescuing countless Nigerian lives.

A new partnership has been established between Nigeria and the Netherlands to tackle blood shortages and decrease preventable suffering and fatalities in Nigeria. During the signing ceremony in Abuja, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, emphasised the importance of the partnership in improving the country’s blood supply. The event underscored the alignment of the collaboration with the objectives outlined in the National Health Plan. Dr. Abdu Mukhtar, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Unlocking Healthcare Value-Chain Initiative, who represented him, expressed the importance of the agreement in increasing the supply and enhancing the healthcare sector’s value chain, promoting the private sector’s involvement.

The program is under President Bola Tinubu’s goal of creating a unified network for blood services to improve the health environment. Also, Prof. Pate stressed that the main objective is to boost its availability, ultimately rescuing countless Nigerian lives. The collaboration is also dedicated to implementing a personalised blood donation program that aligns with the goals of the National Health Plan and the President’s initiative. Prof. Saleh Yuguda, the head of the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC), emphasised the importance of this strategy in alleviating its deficits, specifically in treating diseases such as cancer and sickle cell anaemia.

NBSC and HemoClear partnership supported by FDI.

He emphasised the importance of using autologous transfusions to reduce blood shortages during emergencies, which would help keep donated blood available for specific medical conditions. It will enhance the supply chain by increasing quality and efficiency. Dutch Vice Minister for Public Health, Ms. Marjolijn Sonnema, recognised the difficulties of carrying out autologous transfusions in areas with scarce resources. She described how the collaboration would address these challenges by implementing HemoClear’s innovative micro-filtration technology, which allows extracting and treating a patient’s blood during operations without needing extra equipment or a power supply.

Also, the CEO of HemoClear, Vincent Franssen, firmly believes in collaborating with NBSC. He sees the partnership with the regional service expert as a key to efficient implementation, top-notch clinical training, and expert logistics while paving the way for future local production in Nigeria. The partnership between NBSC and HemoClear is being bolstered by the financial backing of the French Fund for Innovation in Development (FID), further solidifying their dedication and support to enhancing global health in Nigeria.

Shortages in Nigeria result mainly from insufficient voluntary donors.

Furthermore, the blood shortage in Nigeria has exacerbated the challenges healthcare providers face, who need an adequate supply to provide essential medical care. This situation has highlighted the urgent need for a sustainable solution to ensure patients can access life-saving transfusions when required. Hospitals across the country desperately need support from donors to help alleviate the shortage crisis and prevent further loss of life due to a lack of supply. The government and healthcare organisations must take immediate action to address this issue and implement strategies to increase donations and secure a reliable supply for the future.

One of the primary reasons for the blood shortage in Nigeria is the lack of voluntary donors. There needs to be a higher level of awareness and education about the importance of donating blood, leading to a limited pool of donors. Additionally, there are misconceptions and fears surrounding blood donation, reducing the number of people willing to donate blood regularly. As a result, blood banks cannot maintain an adequate supply to meet the increasing demand for blood.

Related Article: Govt to boost private healthcare contribution

To overcome the blood shortage in Nigeria, it is essential to launch nationwide awareness campaigns to educate the public about the importance of donation. These campaigns should focus on dispelling myths and fears surrounding blood donation and promoting voluntary blood donation as a crucial act of saving lives. Additionally, the government and healthcare organisations should provide incentives and support for blood donors, such as free health check-ups or recognition for their contributions. By increasing the number of voluntary donors, Nigeria can ensure a sustainable and sufficient blood supply to meet the needs of patients across the country.

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