The Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Health has encouraged Nigerians to regularly donate blood to address a shortage of 1.5 million units in the country.
Folorunsho Adebiyi, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, made this appeal during a media briefing in Abuja on the occasion of the 2023 World Blood Donor Day, themed ‘Give Blood, Give Plasma, Share Life, Share Often.’
Adebiyi, represented by Omale Amedu, the Acting Director-General of the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC), highlighted a global health report stating that Nigeria requires an average of two million units of blood annually.
Adebiyi said: “It is disheartening to note that the blood service commission collects only 500,000 units of blood, which is just 25 percent of the required yearly blood donation for the nation. This leaves a significant shortfall of 75 percent of the expected yearly blood donation.
Similarly, the BOAT Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation providing access to healthcare for Africans who cannot afford it, recently organised an awareness event to mark the 2023 World Blood Donors Day.
The event, held in cooperation with Café One, I-fitness, and Amber Energy Drink, in Lagos, was to encourage the selfless act of donating blood and also launch the Scan to Donate Blood campaign.
Powered by a QR Code technology developed by BOAT Foundation, the initiative aims to raise awareness about the vital role of blood donors and encourage more individuals to become lifesaving heroes by connecting them to the nearest blood donor centers.
Chiazokam Eze, impact project manager, BOAT Foundation and public health physician, said “We are encouraging more people to become blood donors. This is to ensure that people in underserved and hard-to-reach communities can access blood transfusions at little or no cost.
“Also, many people already have misconceptions about blood donation so part of what we are doing is to create awareness to correct that notion,” she said.
During the awareness campaign, attendees had the chance to hear from well-known authorities in the field.
Ifedayo Adejare, a consultant urologist at Evercare Hospital, was one of the speakers. He shared insights on the significance of blood donation and the positive impact it has on countless lives.
“As an adult, you have five litres of blood flowing through your system, that’s a lot and when we take blood donors, we’re taking approximately a tenth of that and that will not affect you if you are healthy,” he said. “When you donate blood, nothing happens to you, but you probably are saving at least three lives or more with one donation.”
Also, Seyi Oyewole, Corporate Sales and Partnership Manager, iFitness, said: “This particular blood drive campaign represents our unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of the people in our communities.
“This campaign serves as an opportunity for us to rally together and help those who need our help. Through donating blood, you are directly impacting somebody’s life.”