WORLD BLOOD DONORS’ DAY - Health Minister applauds Nigerians who donate free blood to save lives
, June 14, 2018
Health Minister, Prof Isaac Adewole
Today, Nigeria join the rest of the world to mark World's Blood Donors' Day, which is celebrated globally every June 14,
The theme of this year’s campaign is “Blood donation as an action of solidarity” while the slogan is “Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life.”
The minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole In his keynote address expressed gratitude to voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood, adding that the event also provide an opportunity to raise awareness on the need for unceasing blood donations.
Details of his speech are as follows:
It is my pleasure to be present here to celebrate the 2018 World Blood Donor Day. As you may be aware, the 14th of June of every year is set aside for the celebration of the World Blood Donor Day in all countries around the world. This event provides the opportunity to express gratitude to voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood as well as to raise awareness on the need for unceasing blood donations. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Blood donation as an action of solidarity” while the slogan is “Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life.” The theme highlights fundamental human values of altruism, respect, empathy and kindness which is the pivot for voluntary unpaid blood donation systems. The slogan on the other hand, has also been adopted to draw attention to the roles that voluntary donation systems play in encouraging people to care for one another, generate social ties and build united communities.
Permit me to point out that the transfusion of blood and blood products has been of tremendous help in saving millions of lives. In-fact it supports complex medical and surgical procedures. In addition to this it plays essential, life-saving roles in maternal and child care as well as during the emergency response to man-made or natural disasters. Nevertheless we must not overlook the challenge of transmission of serious infections, including HIV and hepatitis, through unsafe blood and chronic blood shortages which has attracted global attention. Let me add that a number of patients requiring blood transfusion still do not have timely access to safe blood. Consequently we can only ensure adequate supplies of blood through regular donations by voluntary, unpaid blood donors who are usually motivated by self-sacrifice, a sense of moral duty or social responsibility. To be candid, they represent the safest group of donors and the prevalence of blood-borne infections is lowest among them.
May I inform you that Nigeria’s estimated blood need is about 1.8 million units of blood per annum; National data indicate that voluntary non-remunerated blood donation accounts for only 10% of our total blood collection. Family replacement donations as well as commercial donations on the other hand, account for 30 and 60 percent respectively.
In order to address current gap as well as strengthen the capacity of the National Blood Transmission Service, we are in the process of concluding the regularization of appointments of core technical staff that were previously engaged on the programme while it was funded by the donor. This we believe will ensure that relevant skill sets are available to optimize service delivery. I will also like to announce that an Executive bill for the establishment of a National Blood Service Commission was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council. This bill when enacted into law will serve to consolidate on the gains made in the last 13 years and take the National Blood Service from its current status to the next level, in line with international best practices. May I add that NBTS currently building community partnerships through the engagement of Community Based Organizations, and the organized private sector, to deepen awareness, grow a steady stream of regular blood donors, as well as make blood donation an integral part of their Social Responsibility programmes.
Furthermore, ladies and gentlemen, we are making steady progress in enlightening secondary school students to embrace the culture of voluntary blood donation from an early age through its Secondary School Blood Safety programme with the aim of getting them to commit to voluntary blood donation on attaining the age of 18 years. I must caution that blood can only be stored for limited time before use. In view of this, regular blood donation by a sufficient number of healthy people, men and women alike, is therefore needed to ensure that safe blood is available whenever and wherever it is needed. We will work hard to broaden established linkages with hospitals in both urban and rural communities in order to increase access to safe blood and blood products.
Permit me to use this opportunity to list some of the health benefits of voluntary blood donation. Firstly, studies have shown that people who voluntarily donate blood have the likelihood of living longer. Secondly, researchers have also found out that majority of the people who are regular blood donors rarely suffer from anaemia of the aged. Thirdly, the donor has the opportunity to undertake free health screening and a mini blood test before every donation at the NBTS center. Fourthly, repeated blood donations enhance the production of new blood cells, improve the overall cardiovascular health and can lower the risk of severe cardiovascular events such as stroke by 33 per cent. And so I encourage all healthy Nigerians to take advantage and enjoy the invaluable benefits.
May I express my sincere appreciation to the World Health Organization for providing technical support to the NBTS as well as donating T-shirts and caps for commemoration of this year’s World Blood Donor day. I also acknowledge the immense financial support by the Aliko Dangote Foundation through a general support grant. I also appreciate the efforts of our various Blood Safety Implementing partners, who in spite of dwindling resources have continued to partner with the NBTS in commemorating this event through the printing of IEC materials for public education campaigns and the conduct of joint drives for blood donors. In deed these activities have continued to bring the act of voluntary blood donation closer to the grassroots. I want to commend all the workers and volunteers of the NBTS who through the years have continued to toil tirelessly to make safe blood available in spite of the numerous challenges. I also appreciate the role of the Media in creating awareness on voluntary blood donation.
Finally, I wish to inform you that voluntary blood donation is a gift to life, it brings joy to many. Without a doubt, the decision to donate a pint of blood can save many lives especially when the blood is separated into its components including red cells, platelets and plasma. It is indeed an act of solidarity and in the spirit of this year’s campaign I hereby enjoin all healthy Nigerians to “be there for someone else by donating blood.”
Thank you all and God bless Nigeria.