#HardFacts: Compulsory Blood Donation Must Stop - SERAP
By Jude Chukwuemeka
Hospitals have no rights to demand blood donations before treating patients. Sandra quotes the judgement of the Lagos High Court, as she goes into the second Big 3 Stories of the day.
Sandra emphasizes that Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has called on Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to begin enforcing the judgment immediately.
Before this judgment, it was common to see hospitals in Lagos State refuse to treat emergency cases until a relative made a blood donation. Justice Raliat Adebiyi of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja described the practice as "arbitrary, unfair and a violation of human rights."
As Sandra explains on the show, the hospitals give just one or two excuses: They have no blood stored up. That begs the question, what if they don't use blood? Will they return the blood to the donor?
However, it is a serious issue for the Nigerian healthcare system to have a shortage of blood. More importantly, why do hospitals demand blood from families of the dying or women in labor?
In Nigeria, blood banks are empty because Nigerians refuse to donate blood. Furthermore, there is lack of capacity to store blood. It needs electricity and right here in Nigeria, that's something not guaranteed always. Sandra says this is another demonstration of lack of infrastructure costing life in Nigeria.
Has any hospital demanded blood donation from you before treating your family member? Sandra opens the phone lines.
The first person who called in says he donated blood during his wife’s pregnancy. Asked why he did it, he says he did it because the hospital told him it was one of the procedures that’s mandatory before his wife got treated. Because his wife must be attended to, he donated blood and the treatment was carried out. He says he donated blood twice when his wife was pregnant.
The second person who called in says the problem is that people lack trust and he believe that blood donation is not the only option available. But why do Nigerian hospitals always ask for blood? He says there are bloodless procedures but in Nigeria, everybody ‘zeros on blood.’
The third caller is a woman who shares her experience when she was told to donate three pints of blood needed for surgery. That was in 2010. She was able to donate that, but the hospital staff came to her again and told her there was no more blood but they still needed blood. She contacted her husband who came back from work to the hospital and threatened to sue the hospital officials. Soon after that, they found a way around it and brought more blood for her.
The question is: If the hospitals don’t have blood in stock what are they supposed to do?
Sandra saves that question for further discussion next week.
#HARDFACTS with Sandra Ezekwesili. 3 - 7pm Mondays to Fridays