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Fashola Tasks Health Workers on WHO’s Voluntary Blood Donation

First lady of Lagos State, Abimbola Fashola
First lady of Lagos State, Abimbola Fashola
Wife of the Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola has called on stakeholders in the health sector to intensify efforts to actualize World Health Organization (WHO) set goal for year 2020 that 100% of all blood for transfusion should be from voluntary blood donors.

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Mrs. Fashola who stated at the year 2014 world blood donor day celebration in Lagos stressed that the need to meet the year 2020 WHO set goal will go a long way in addressing issues such as touting for blood donation as well as demand for family replacement of blood through family donation for mothers at ante natal booking.

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Speaking through Mrs. Azeezat Tijani, wife of Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Fashola urged everyone to imbibe the spirit of voluntary blood donation stressing that making safe blood available for pregnant mothers is a collective responsibility.

“The theme and slogan for this celebration, ‘safe blood for saving mothers’ and ‘giving blood for those who give life’ respectively is focused on creating awareness on the vital role of safe blood toward achieving the goal of reducing maternal death.

Fashola posited that creating awareness on the vital role of safe blood toward achieving the goal of reducing maternal death is very important because records have shown that majority of maternal deaths are related to loss of blood especially during and after delivery.

“We therefore cannot over emphasize the need to ensure availability of blood in our blood banks where mothers can be readily supplied. That is why we join the rest of the world to celebrate commemorate the World Blood Donation Day to celebrate those who give their blood willingly and freely without knowing the recipients”, She added.

Earlier, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris noted that one of the strategies that were put in place to actualize the vision of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee (LSBTC) that was established 10 years ago to ensure only safe blood will be transfused in Lagos State is to promote the recruitment of voluntary blood donors to ensure adequate supply of safe blood.

He stated that the State government is working towards attaining the WHO goal that mandated all countries to source blood only from voluntary blood donors 100% by 2020 stressing that the state government is doing all it can to attaining this goal even before the speculated time.

Idris who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. ‘Modele Osunkiyesi expressed his delight that many Lagosians are keying into the vision by responding positively to the clarion call to donate blood voluntarily to save lives while also expressing his believe that many more of the good people of Lagos will join in the crusade and also enroll to become voluntary blood donors.

“I am aware that the number of voluntary blood donors has been increasing regularly since the inception of Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee and is currently ten times more; 4755 in 2013 than what the committee started with; 474 in the year 2006. We hope that more people will take interest in helping others to save their lives”.

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He outlined the efforts made by the blood transfusion committee to attract and retain voluntary blood donors to include; promoting attitudinal change in the health personnel who attend to the donors; creating a conducive environment for blood donation; establishing blood donor centres outside of hospital premises, planning on the acquisition of blood mobile – a vehicle for walk-in blood donation and exemption of screening fees for volunteers should they themselves require blood transfusion.

“The retention of these voluntary blood donors is also very important to us and this is why the State government is putting it as a policy to exempt voluntary blood donors who themselves require blood from paying screening fees. Before now they are only exempted from replacement of blood and not screening fees. This policy takes effect from today”, Idris state.

Speaking also, the Chairman, Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee, Dr. Adtoun Agbe-Davies stated that voluntary blood donors are processed through eligibility criteria before donation stressing that they must be between 18 and 65 years and must be physically fit.

She added that voluntary blood donors may be referred for treatment if required and given heamatinics and vitamins adding also that refreshment and souvenirs are given routinely while they are also remembered on their birthdays, festive period and reminded when due for next donation via SMS.

“All these have impacted positively on the donors resulting in an increase in repeat voluntary donations. From 474 units of blood from voluntary donors in 2004, we had 4,775 units in 2013 and from January to June 14, 2014 we had 1,888 units”, Agbe-Davies Stated.

She opined that this year’s campaign will increase awareness about why it is important to have safe blood and blood products when required by pregnant mothers during pregnancy and child birth stressing that it is an important strategy in the prevention of maternal deaths and major component of the comprehensive Lagos State Maternal and Child Mortality Reduction Programme.

“It is expected that more people will become regular voluntary blood donors as partners to ensure the success of this programme in reducing maternal deaths. This is because bleeding has been recognized as a major cause of maternal death”, the Chairman posited.

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