As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s World Blood Donor Day, today, the World Health Organisation, WHO has urged African governments and political leaders to prioritise the provision of adequate human and financial resources to secure the future of national blood transfusion services.
Making the call in her message to mark the day, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti also called for more people to become regular blood donors.
According to her, a blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products, in sufficient quantities, is a key component of an effective health system.
The theme of this year’ is “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives,” this highlights the critical role of voluntary blood donations in saving lives, and enhancing community solidarity and social cohesion by donating just one unit of blood can save the lives of up to three patients.
The WHO Regional Director stated that compared to other regions globally, the African region sees a disproportionate number of conditions requiring donor blood, impacting as many as seven million patients every year.
She further stated that the situation remains challenging, and exacerbated by issues such as staff shortages and limited funding from governments and partner organisations for effective blood donor education, recruitment, and retention.
She said in the region, WHO provides support to countries at various levels, including resource mobilisation for the implementation of national blood transfusion plans, advocacy for integrating blood safety in these plans, and strengthening the legal and regulatory framework for blood safety.
She added that seeking out opportunities for partnerships and collaborations with media, the private sector, and faith-based and non-governmental organizations, will help increase the recruitment and retention of voluntary unpaid blood donors.