The supply of safe blood is at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said.
He said this was because regular blood donation drives had had to be postponed or deferred; while regulations for self-isolation, lockdown and fear of infection had hindered the usual blood donors from accessing blood donation centres.
He stated this in Abuja yesterday during a social media engagement with Nigerians to mark this year’s World Blood Donor Day.
He said transport and trade restrictions have also led to disruptions of global supply chains, putting countries at risk of shortages of critical supplies and equipment used for blood donation, processing, testing and transfusion to patients in need of blood.
He said the blood need of Nigeria with its over 200 million population was about two million units per year, but that much less than that was currently collected, leaving unmet needs that led to avoidable deaths, morbidities and ill-health.
He said his ministry was currently considering proposals for a major investment from public and private sectors to upgrade the capacity of the National Blood Transfusion Service to enable it to achieve its potential to produce blood components and plasma derived medicinal products at a commercial scale that meets international best standards.
Kingsley Odiabara, National Laboratory Manager, National Blood Transfusion Service, who represented National Coordinator Dr Oluwatoyin Smith, said voluntary blood donation among Nigerians was still very low.