The branch secretary of the Nigerian Red Cross, Lagos State, Olakunle Lasisi says there is a need to create more awareness about voluntary blood donation in Nigeria.
He also noted that there is a need to reduce commercial blood donors.
The Red Cross official disclosed that only 10 percent of blood donation in Lagos is from voluntary donors, adding that the state needs 260,000 units to meet its yearly requirement.
He spoke on Monday at the PUNCH Media Foundation webinar series in commemoration of the 2021 World Blood Donor Day.
The webinar themed ‘Why Nigeria needs more free blood donors’ is aimed at creating awareness on blood donation and stimulating greater public interest in voluntary blood donation.
According to Lasisi, even though there are lots of commercial blood donors, there is a need to create awareness on voluntary blood donation in society.
He said “we need to encourage people to be voluntary blood donors. To be a voluntary blood donor, it means you must have chosen to do that without any form of pressure and you must have heard of it and want to be part of it and as a matter of it. The core responsibility of the Nigerian Red Cross is targeted at humanity.
“We have about 70-75 percent of our members who are youths and it’s easier for us to penetrate and we have ambassadors in the society to encourage blood drive.”
Lasisi, who is a card-carrying Voluntary Blood Donor with Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service said it is advisable to donate blood four times a year.
“The NRC does the blood drive four times in a year because it is safer for a donor to donate four times in a year and that means after every three months, you can donate blood.
“Being a blood donor with the Red Cross, you will also be given a certificate of appreciation to show that what you have done is appreciated,” he noted.
Adding, he said, “If the Commissioner for Health in Lagos, Prof. Akin Abayomi can say that what Lagos state actually needs to be comfortable is 265,000 units of blood but what they have currently is just about 86,000 units of blood.
“The shocking news about it is that only 10 percent of that 86,000 units of blood are from voluntary blood donors, that means we still have lots of commercial blood donors out there and we can overshadow that with more campaign and imbibing the act of voluntary blood donation through various groups.”
Other speakers at the event include the National Coordinator, National Blood Transfusion Service, Dr. Joseph Amedu; Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the International Society of Media in Public Health, Moji Makanjuola; and Founder, Action on Blood, Abiola Okubanjo.