Should Family Members be Required to Donate Blood for Hospitalized Patients?
By Jude Chukwuemeka
It has been reported that Lagos needs between 260, 000 and 520, 000 units of blood every year. But only 100, 000 units are available. This information is put out by the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service. Going by this information, it means that Lagos has less than half of the blood it needs.
The other shocking fact is that of the 100, 000 units, only ten percent of it came from volunteer donors.
Two health experts; Dr. Mrs Adeyemo, Consultant Haematology and blood transfusion Department, Luth and Chief Andrew Obuoforibo, Public health Evaluation consultant for world Bank speaks to Sandra about the issues surrounding blood transfusion and how people generally think about donating it.
Why are Lagosians not giving blood? What are stakeholders doing to increase voluntary blood donations? Are the forced donations by hospitals a necessary evil? Or should the health sector be looking at better ways to get more blood?
Sandra Ezekwesili tasks the guests on the show to answer these questions.
She also asks Lagosians if they donate blood voluntarily. What are the factors they may consider if they want to donate blood or if they don't want to donate? Have you ever donated blood because a loved one was desperately in need of it?
Dr. Adeyemo is first to speak on the #HardFacts show. She encourages Nigerians to donate blood because there is no danger in donating it. “I am aware of the health and social benefits of blood donations. I must say that before an individual donates blood, the person gets the benefit of a routine health screening,” she says.
According to the doctor, donors who have been found to have high blood pressure have often been referred for appropriate treatment. Furthermore, those who donate should realize that they only donate about 10 percent of the total blood volume each time they do so. The best thing about that is that it is “replaced a few days after the donation in the most natural manner by the body.”
Chief Andrew says that the reason why Lagos needs much blood is “because blood doesn’t last. We have red blood cells, platelets, but the one used most often is the red blood cells. The red blood cells only last for about 42 days when it is refrigerated. It means that if I donate blood today, in six weeks’ time even though it is constantly refrigerated, it will no longer be okay for transfusion.”
According to Chief Andrews, the reason why people are still afraid to donate blood is due to not having enough sensitization. “We don’t have enough organizations that go out there and educate the public. We need media and government to be fully involved. At the end of the day, people will only do the right thing if they are exposed to it but people are not just born knowing everything.”
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