Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee (LSBTC) has urged all stakeholders in the health sector to work hard to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) goal that by year 2020, 100 per cent blood for transfusion should be sourced from voluntary blood donors.
The Chairman of LSBTC, Dr. Adetoun Agbe-Davies, gave the task at the year 2014 annual free public health screening and awareness programme organized by The Muslim Congress (TMC) of Mushin Local Government.
She therefore tasked stakeholders to intensify effort at ensuring that the set goal is achieved as this will go a long way to address issues of touting in blood donation and demand for replacement of blood through family donation for mothers at ante natal booking.
The Chairman, who was represented by a member of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee, Mrs. Serifat Lawal, urged everyone to imbibe the spirit of voluntary blood donation and also become repeat donors as making safe blood available is a collective responsibility of everyone.
She stated that creating awareness on the vital role of voluntary blood donation toward achieving the goal of saving lives and reducing deaths is very important because records have shown that quite a number of deaths are related to loss of blood.
"We cannot over emphasize the need to ensure availability of blood in our blood banks where patients who require blood transfusion can be readily supplied. That is why we are intensifying our awareness campaign to encourage more voluntary blood donors to join others who give their blood willingly and freely without knowing the recipients,'' she said.
Agbe-Davies noted that one of the strategies put in place to actualize LSBTC vision of transfusing only safe blood, is to promote the recruitment of voluntary blood donors to ensure adequate supply of safe blood.
She expressed 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 her belief that many more of the good people of Lagos will join in the crusade and also enroll to become voluntary blood donors.
"The number of voluntary blood donors has been increasing regularly since the inception of Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee and is currently 10 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" She added.
She outlined the efforts being 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 up 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", The Chairman said.
Earlier, Chairman of TMC, Mr. Adebayo Abdulwahab explained that the Free Public Health Programme is a gesture of the TMC to keep the populace alive and healthy.
He stated that free diabetes test, blood pressure check, voluntary blood donation drive, HIV screening, medical consultation, free eye test, dental care would be conducted during the exercise, while drugs would also be distributed free.
The Chairman stated that public health programme is aimed at creating awareness about diseases with public health significance, especially diabetes adding that the programme intends to encourage healthy lifestyle and regular exercise amongst the populace.
He said, "Our annual free public health programme this year is to commemorate the year 2014 World Diabetes Day.
The world diabetes day led by International Diabetes Foundation, is celebrated worldwide on November 14 in response to the growing concerns of escalating health threat posed by diabetes".