The Director-General, of the newly established Nigeria Blood Services Commission, Omale Joseph, has revealed that, many hospitals in the country, give expired blood to their patients. He said, while some others sell blood donated by concerned and good citizens meant for ailing patients, some others sell blood unsafe for transfusion to their patients.
DG Omale Joseph, exposed the illegalities, during a media brief with journalists in Abuja on Thursday, over a sponsored bill by Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, a member of the House.
The bill which has been signed into law on Thursday, by President Muhammadu Buhari, heralded the establishment of the National Blood Services Commission, to cater for the ’blood’ needs of patients, and to curb the excesses of unprofessional hospital owners, who sell blood donated to them, and give expired blood to patients. The Commission will also create adequate awareness for the need of blood donation across the country.
The Nigeria Blood Services Commission boss, Omale Joseph said,
“The establishment of the Commission would ensure that, not only state governments and their tertiary hospitals would have blood banks, but every local government should have at least a blood bank, so that people in need would be able to access it easily and cheaply.”
The DG continued,
“Another area the Act would help, is the issue of increasing the outlets where people can get blood. For example, you rarely get blood banks outside major hospitals.”
“These are some of the things we are going to regulate, which we have started. We are also working to a point that blood will be everywhere in Nigeria. One of the things we are doing is to initiate what we call ‘one million safe blood initiatives.’
Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, who sponsored the bill said,
“It is a very important milestone achieved in the medical sector of this country. Before the ascent of the President, the industry had been fragmented. It has been to a great extent, unregulated and not too coordinated, and because of that, a lot of things are happening.”
However, Mr. Omale Joseph, has appealed to Nigerians, to cultivate the habit of donating blood when necessary, because of the many benefits of doing so.
He lectured that, safe blood has a lifespan of 35 days, after which it becomes unsafe to use; adding that, but the unfortunate thing is, some hospitals still infuse such blood stored up in the bank, even after it has expired.
“A unit of blood expires between 30 and 35 days. If you don’t transfuse this blood within that period and it gets to 35 days, it has to be thrown away. But people still keep them in their fridge and transfuse them.”
The DG also lamented the outrageous amount that some hospital sell a pint of blood, despite the fact that, sometimes, blood are freely donated by some kind persons to hospitals. He emphasized that the newly established Commission will see to curbing the cruel practices, which has been on-going for a long time in many hospitals in the country.
Mr. Omale Joseph gave the promise that, blood banks centres, would be established in the 36 states of the federation, which include establishing some in local government areas for quick accessibility, and to save many more lives; that were before now, lost, due to unavailability of blood. He again assured Nigerians that, sanity would be restored to hospitals in the process of blood handling, utilization, and administration, with the inauguration of the Nigeria Blood Services Commission.