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Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has restated the commitment State government to the provision of clean, safe and fast availability of blood for transfusion in all health facilities as a measure against hemorrhage which is the leading cause of maternal and child mortality.

Akin Abayomi who stated this today at the 2019 Annual Stakeholders’ Summit of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service (LSBTS) noted that the resolve of the present administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ensure access to screened, certified, clean and quality blood for citizens especially pregnant women whenever it is required is unshaken.

Speaking on the theme: “Strategy for Reducing Maternal Mortality: Increasing the Blood Supply”, the Commissioner declared that preventable deaths in women and children resulting from normal life procreation process caused by hemorrhage are unacceptable.

“In a place like Lagos where we have two teaching hospitals, 27 general hospitals and over 300 primary healthcare centres we should not accept these preventable deaths. Lagos State shouldn’t be a place where we should be talking about maternal and child mortality rates and this is why we have declared zero tolerance for preventable deaths in mothers and babies”, he said.

While explaining that blood is important to human existence, Abayomi stated that blood should be viewed as an organ and not necessarily as a liquid adding that whenever blood is being transfused, what it signifies is an organ transplant to save precious lives.

The Commissioning however stressed the need for quality assurance in the donation and transfusion of blood adding that a situation where people are infected with blood related diseases as result transfusion is unacceptable.

“I have seen a few patient that have been infected with hepatitis through blood transfusion or contaminated needles, Only a few months ago a friend of mine with sickle cell went for injection and she was unfortunately infected with hepatitis B, this kind of trend has to be eliminated”

While noting that the war being waged on HIV through the Lagos State AIDS control agency is yielding the desired results, the Commissioner stated that the Lagos State government will be declaring war on hepatitis in 2020.

He noted that voluntary blood donors who go out of their way despite busy schedules in a bustling city like Lagos to donate blood in order to save precious lives needed to be honoured. He added that this will go a long way to spur other citizens join in the heroic act of donating blood.

Abayomi noted that State government is devising modern technology to address blood shortages in health facilities across the State adding that private sector participation and partnership is key in the drive to address the gap between blood demand and supply.

“We have embarked on integrated public awareness and sanitization campaign through the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service to address socio-cultural beliefs militating against voluntary blood donation and we are going a step further in these campaign in our bid to educate the populace and recruit more voluntary blood donors” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye said the Lagos State Government through LSBTS has been working assiduously to ensure that only safe voluntarily donated bloods are available and transfused in the State.

He explained that various strategies geared towards addressing shortage of blood including public awareness campaign, donor care program, media campaign, outreach services amongst others have been instituted are being implemented to increase the donor pool of voluntarily donated blood.

Ogboye noted that the overarching goal of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service is to recruit and maintain voluntary blood donors and ensure adequate supply of safe blood for transfusion in line with World Health Organization (WHO) goal of non-remunerated blood donation in every country of the world.

Executive Secretary, LSBTS, Dr. Bodunrin Osikomaiya stated said that LSBTS is resolute in its drive to strengthen the external quality control and proficiency testing in all blood screening centers and blood banks in order to ensure optimal quality of bloods for transfusion.

She noted that it is only through recruitment of voluntary blood donors, screening of blood for transfusion, appropriate processing of blood, safe blood collection, safe administration of blood, periodic audit of blood banks and screening centres, and continuing medical education for health personnel involved in blood transfusion as carried out by the LSBTS that the challenges militating against blood transfusion can be overcome.