A Consultant Haematologist at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Uche Nwokwu says Nigeria is yet to meet up to 10 per cent of its blood need in the country.
Nwokwu made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja to commemorate the World Blood Donor Day (WBDD)
WBDD is celebrated every June 14, to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
“We are still far from what is needed but unfortunately, in a country of over 200 million and we are not yet met up to 10 per cent of our blood need as a country.
“So many people die because of blood loses, in our country where they are security challenges, where they are killings and trauma, crises in various communities, road traffic accidents, various diseases condition and people are going for various surgeries.
“The blood need of the country is quite huge and we are very far from meeting that need, so Nigerians are encouraged to willing go to any blood donation centres around.
“Federal Government has established the National blood Transfusion Service, and that has zonal offices across the country.
“They can voluntary go to those centres and donate, and when they are donor drive activities in their neighbourhood, they are encouraged to donate as they donate, life is saved.’’
The World Health Organisation (WHO) stipulates that at least one per cent of the population must be able or willing to donate blood.
Nigeria needs between two to four million units of blood annually with the population of 200 million going by the indicators that the WHO had provided to be able to meet the transfusion requirement of Nigerians.
Nwokwu said there is still blood supply deficiency in the country despite the efforts of the Federal Government and Civil Society Organisations on awareness creation.
He attributed the blood supply deficiency to some myths surrounding blood donation.
“I mean, the awareness and response is still far from expected because of the myth surrounding blood donation so there is still phobia for donating blood.
“They are afraid of the consequences of fainting, of losing blood themselves and that has affected blood donation.
“They are also traditional belief on blood that has affected the response of Nigerians to donate blood.’’
The consultant, urged Nigerians to dismiss the myths surrounding blood donation and donate blood regularly.
“They are benefits of donating blood; Apart from the moral satisfaction of saving lives, if you donate blood within two weeks, your system has a way of replacing the blood you have donated.
“It essentially makes one healthier if you donate and it is advisable to donate blood quarterly, once in three or four months is allowed. It makes the person healthier.
“Personally, I donate twice every year -January and July. I have been doing that and I have not had cause to need blood myself and have not to fall sick. In fact, I can remember the last time I took drug for malaria.
“I do it as sacrifice and God has been using it to strengthen me.’’