Blood donation shortage hits Nigeria, says minister

The Nigeria has been established to be facing shortage of blood supply donations, just as the World Health Organisation(WHO) showed that 2023 out of the 118.5 million blood donations collected globally, 40 per cent are from high-income countries.

Penpushing reports that the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate made this known as Nigeria marks the 20th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day, and appealed to Nigerians to increase voluntary blood donations.

The coordinating minister represented by the Acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Chris Isokpunwu at the 2024 World Blood Donor Day press briefing organised by the National Blood Service Commission noted that Nigeria’s blood shortage is leading to avoidable deaths and diseases.

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“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’, he said.

Penpushing further reports that the coordinating minister pointed out that data on the donation rate in Nigeria shows that more than 80 per cent of blood collected is from family replacement and commercial blood donors.

The World Health Organisation(WHO), Pate explained advised that blood collection, testing, processing, storage, and distribution activities be coordinated nationally through integrated blood supply networks, governed by a national blood policy and legislative framework to ensure uniform quality and safety standards.

Penpushing also reports that he stated that research has shown that the safest and most reliable source of blood comes from regular, voluntary donors, rather than paid donors, stressing that the World Health Assembly has urged countries to develop blood systems based on voluntary donations, aiming for self-sufficiency.

“However, data on the donation rate in Nigeria shows that more than 80 per cent of blood collected is from family replacement and commercial blood donors. 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 annually. Blood infusion critical to the health sector”, he said

Penpushing reports that the minister who spoke on the theme, “20 Years of Celebrating Giving: Thank You, Blood Donors”, noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) established World Blood Donor Day 20 years ago to promote voluntary blood donation and safe blood practices, explaining that it allows appreciating the kindness of donors.

‘This day gives us the opportunity to celebrate the progress made and the lives saved due to the selflessness of blood donors worldwide. Blood donation is a gesture of kindness, a symbol of solidarity, and a testament to humanity’s capacity for compassion’, he stated.

‘Every blood donation is a precious gift. Each donation has the potential to save up to three lives, making blood donors true heroes among us. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to every one of you who have rolled up your sleeves to donate blood. Your kindness, compassion, and commitment to helping others are truly admirable”, Pate added.

Penpushing further reports that the Director General of the National Blood Service Commission, Saleh Yuguda,  in his goodwill message emphasised the need for regular, unpaid blood donations to ensure universal access to safe blood transfusion.

The Director General pointed out that blood transfusion is a vital component of healthcare, providing life-saving support to patients facing severe medical conditions., explaining that by receiving blood and blood products, patients can extend their lives and enjoy improved quality of life.

Penpushing also reports that Yuguda added blood transfusion plays a crucial role in facilitating complex medical and surgical procedures, making it essential in maternal and child care, as well as during natural disasters and man-made crises.

‘Recently data indicates that more people are dying from lack of access to blood and blood products (because of RTA, obstetric haemorrhage, cancer-related bone marrow suppression etc) than communicable diseases in developing countries’, he said.

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