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LifeBlood Nigeria, An NGO Launched To Address Blood Shortage

By Kingsley OGBONNA
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LAGOS, NIGERIA: Friday, June 17, 2016: In a bid to address the current gap in the quantity of blood being supplied in the country and the actual amount and quantity that the nation needs, High Life Church, a Christian Pentecostal Church has launched a Non Governmental Organisation called LifeBlood Nigeria. LifeBlood’s research shows Nigeria collects only 38 percent of the required amount of blood each year.

The official launch of the NGO which coincided with this year’s edition of the World Blood Donor Day celebrated on June 14, 2016, was performed in Lagos by the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service, Dr (Mrs.) Modupe Olaiya who was represented by Dr Samuel Alori.

Delivering the key note address Dr (Mrs.) Modupe Olaiya, reminded the audience that blood transfusion is an essential component of healthcare saying that “To achieve safe and adequate supply of blood, blood donation must be voluntary and blood donation must also be regular. In line with World Health Organization (WHO), recommendations, all blood donations must come from voluntary donors and all blood donations should be screened for infections prior to use.”

Dr. Olaiya outlined some of the enduring challenges in blood transfusion in Nigeria to include sub-optimal recruitment and retention of voluntary; non-remunerated blood donors due to wrong cultural belief and lack of awareness surrounding the issue as well as the dependence on family replacement and commercial blood donors.

She stated that in an attempt to tackle these issues, Lagos State government established the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee (LSBTC) in June 2004 to regulate and co-ordinate blood transfusion services in the state under the supervision of the Lagos State Ministry of Health.

The vision according to her was to have a state where only safe blood is transfused in all appropriate health facilities while the mission is to provide safe blood through the recruitment of voluntary blood donors, the screening of every unit of blood for Transfusion Transmissible Infections (TTIs), and the efficient processing of blood for all who require it. she intimated that all blood transfused in public and private hospitals in Lagos must carry the logo of the LSBTC to show that the blood has been screened for TTIs.

She commended LifeBlood Nigeria initiative and also applauded High Life Church for an excellent start with voluntary blood donation and commended the global nature of the campaign, saying that LifeBlood’s goals are achievable.

In his remarks, Pastor Carlton Williams of High Life Church enjoined the congregation and well-wishers to change the world from where they are seated, saying that the understanding of the church’s role in society must change.

According to Pastor Williams, “The era of mere doctrinal purity is past. The time of limiting our expression of Christ to just understanding the plan of God for an individual’s life is past. This is the day when nations are impacted by the structures of the kingdom through you and me.”

He further said, “The church is going to get into spaces that we are not known for. The church must shine with potent sustainable solutions that save lives and solve problems in education, business, media, arts and entertainment, government and all manifestations of religious life.”

Also in attendance was Mrs. Tosin Osofisan, the Donor Care Manager of the NBTS, Abeokuta Centre.

LifeBlood Nigeria is an independent NGO registered in Nigeria. The goals of LifeBlood are to:

– Foster a culture of regular, voluntary blood donation so that Nigeria has enough supplies of blood to deal with normal needs and national emergencies.

– Build and maintain a national voluntary donor database to make the process of donating blood simpler, safer and more pleasant.

– Become a centre of excellence in the provision of blood products and services so that every Nigerian has access to safe and appropriate blood when and where they need it and at a price they can afford.

To commemorate World Blood Donor Day, LifeBlood is running social media campaigns via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram that encourage people to like, share, tag, and retweet messages, photos, and videos, inviting others to become voluntary, blood donors under hashtags like #realsuperheroesgiveblood.

LifeBlood gladly accepts operational and financial support from individuals, charities, government offices, media houses and corporate entities that also wish to address the urgent need for more and safer blood supplies in Nigeria.

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