As Nigeria marks the 2017 World Blood Donor Day, WBDD, the National Coordinator of the National Blood Transfusion Service, NBTS, Dr. Oluwatoyin Smith has said that Nigeria specifically needs 1.8 million units of safe blood to service the nation’s blood requirements.
Smith who made this known yesterday in Abuja in her office during an exclusive interview with Nigerian Pilot, added that just 1% of the Nigerian population can donate the needed 1.8 units of blood required to save Nigerians when the need arises.
She said, ‘’ we need just 1% of our population to the blood banks across the nation because Nigeria needs 1.8 million units per year to service the need of the nation.
The NBTS National Coordinator said that although there is enough safe screened blood to service hospitals, the economic recession in the country has affected the phenomenal blood donation attitude of Nigerians.
She explained that due government’s blood donation awareness and sensitisation, people’s response phenomenon to blood donation had increased but economic factors has affected the volume of blood collected by the service in recent times.
Speaking on the challenges the NBTS faces in recent times, Smith said that government needs to back up blood donation in the country by law which must be implemented.
She said, ‘’Government needs to increase funding because the service needs to N1.2 billion to run the service across the country.
She further lamented that despite the importance of NBTS to healthcare in the country, the service is still operating skeletally using voluntary staff in the past 10 years.
She however called on government that with increased funding most of the staff would be absorbed for increased efficiency of the service.
Smith also noted that the service is still using semi- automated ELISA equipments which takes three days to screen a unit of blood, but it needs the fully automated equipment which takes just three to four hours to screen blood, adding that 96 blood samples are screened at the same time.