More People Dying From Lack Of Access To Blood Than Communicable Diseases — Federal Gov’t

ABUJA – As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Blood Donor Day, the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) has called for more voluntary blood donation, saying that more people die from lack of access to blood than communicable diseases.

Director-general of NBSC, Prof. Saleh Yuguda, stated this at a press conference in commemoration of the 2024 World Blood Donor Day, themed: “20 years of celebrating giving: thank you, blood donors”, in Abuja.

The DG noted that blood transfusion plays a critical role in healthcare, benefiting patients who face life-threatening conditions.

He said: “Transfusion of blood and blood products help patients live longer and with higher quality of life. Additionally, blood transfusion supports complex medical and surgical procedures thus making it indispensable in maternal and childcare as well as during man-made and natural disasters.

“Recent data indicates that more people are dying from lack of access from blood and blood products (because of RTA, obstetric haemorrhage, cancer related bone marrow suppression etc) than communicable diseases in developing countries.”

Emphasising that access to safe blood and blood products is essential for universal health coverage and is a key component of effective systems.

Yuguda said: “Blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantity is a key component of an effective health system.”

20 years ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO) set June 14 of every year aside to raise awareness about the critical importance of voluntary non-remunerated blood donation, the need for safe blood and blood products, and to appreciate blood donors for their voluntary life-saving gift of blood.

WHO recommends that all activities related to blood collection, testing, processing, storage, and distribution be coordinated at the national level through effective organisation and integrated blood supply networks.

In Nigeria, the NBSC was established in 2021 through the NBSC Act, 2021, with the mandate to coordinate, regulate, and ensure the provision of quality blood, blood products, and services in line with the National Health Plan.

Meanwhile, the minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Mohammed Ali Pate, said that data on the rate of blood donation in the country shows that more than 80 per cent of blood collected is from family replacement and commercial blood donors.

However, he said most reliable and safest source of blood comes from a stable base of regular, voluntary, unpaid blood donors rather than from commercial sources.

The minister who was represented by the director, health planning , research and statistics in the ministry, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, noted that the use of blood and blood products has become an integral part of modern medical practice.

“Access to safe blood and blood products is a key component of an effective health system and a significant building block for the successful achievement of health related Sustainable Development Goals.

“With a population of over 200 million, Nigeria’s estimated blood need is about 2 million units per annum. Unfortunately, much less is currently donated, leading to avoidable deaths, morbidities, or ill health, particularly among our womenfolk, newborns, and children, and victims of road traffic accidents and insurgencies. This situation can improve if only 1 Percent of our country’s adult population commits themselves to voluntary non-remunerated,” he stated.

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