The Director-General of the newly-established Nigeria Blood Transfusion Services Commission, Omale Joseph, has promised to sanitise unwholesome practices in blood transfusion which has been prevalent in the blood handling entities.
This, he maintained, required hard work and adequate funding of the agency, assuring that as a regulatory agency, there would be total elimination of sharp practices in the system.
Omale stated this while briefing newsmen in Abuja following the establishment of the new commission as a product of a bill sponsored by Hon. Abbas Tajudeen (APC, Kaduna), which was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Omale decried that those handling blood administration in public and private health care facilities cut corners by administering expired blood, saying that safe blood has a lifespan of 35 days after which it becomes unsafe.
According to him, Nigerians have developed the habit of commercializing blood, as individuals donate blood for fees ranging between N20,000 and above, a practice he said the commission will strive to discourage, as blood is not a commercial commodity.
The DG promised to establish blood banks and centres in the 36 States of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory.
According to him, “Another area the Act would help is the issue of increasing the outlets where people can get blood. For example, you rarely get blood banks outside major hospitals. Most of the states are only making do with only one or two blood banks.
“The establishment of the commission will ensure that not only state governments and their big tertiary hospitals would have blood banks, but every local government should have at least a blood bank so that people in need will be able to access it easily and cheaply”.
He solicited the support of the media to help propagate the message of blood donation among healthy Nigerians, saying that it further enhances the health of those who donate.
“Blood donation is necessary to keep one healthy. Once you donate blood, new cells come up to replenish the one you’ve donated, because blood produced by the body expires over time and is reabsorbed by the body. But when removed from the body through donation, it gives room for new blood cells which makes the donor more healthy.”
He said the commission would also strive to collaborate with private pharmaceutical companies to produce drugs derived from blood cells, plasmas, and other components of blood, rather than keep them to expire before use.