As the world celebrates World Blood Donor Day, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi has said that the State will require not less than 260,000 units of blood annually to meet with the growing blood transfusion demand at health facilities in the State.
Abayomi who disclosed this on Sunday through a Zoom Live Feeds organised by the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service (LSBTS) to commemorate this year’s World Blood Donor Day in Lagos noted that efforts are being intensified by the state government to meet and surpass this requirement through recruiting and retaining voluntary blood donors.
“To maintain an adequate blood supply, one to two per cent of the population needs to become regular blood donors; this is about 260,000 in a growing population of over 26 million in Lagos State. The regular supply of blood is essential as the life span of blood is very short. Each unit of blood donated remains viable for 35days.
“Thankfully, we are working hard in partnership with the public and private sector, Non-governmental organizations, religious bodies, youth organizations to achieve this target number,” he said.
Speaking on this year’s World Blood Donor Day theme, which is celebrated every June 14, ‘Safe Blood, Saves Lives with The Slogan “Give Blood And Make The World A Healthier Place,” the Commissioner said that encouraging and promoting voluntary blood donation in a safe and conducive environment is the goal of the state government.
“This year’s theme has come in at a time the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the various phases of lock down and travel restrictions have brought about some challenges to our blood donation drives.
The need for blood transfusions and medications based on blood components has however continued despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the LSBTS voluntary blood donation centers were open all through with an extension in our opening hours.”
“Scientifically, there are no confirmed reports of coronavirus being transmitted by blood transfusion anywhere in the world and strict additional safety measures including more hand washing sites, use of handsanitisers, use of personal protective equipment (PPE’s) as well as maintaining physical distancing is kept are being practised at the blood collection sites for donors and staff,” Abayomi said.
He explained that making the world a better place is not only about blood collection from donors or its transfusion, but the collection of convalescent plasma from those that have recovered from COVID-19 infections in preparation for an interventional study in the treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 infection.
While noting that there is no substitute for blood, the Commissioner noted that the lives of hundreds of patients including pregnant women, children with severe anemia, accident victims, patients with cancer and haemoglobinothies are saved by blood transfusion stressing that adequate and timely supply of safe blood is needed to continue helping those people who are in need of blood transfusion.