June 14, 2015 is World Blood Donor Day. This year, themed ‘Thank you for saving my life’ focuses on thanking blood donors who save lives every day through their blood donations and strongly encourages more people all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly with the slogan “Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.” The campaign aims to highlight stories from people whose lives have been saved through blood donation, as a way of motivating regular blood donors to continue giving blood and people in good health who have never given blood to begin doing so.
There are 3 types of blood donors – voluntary unpaid; family replacement; and paid donors. All countries aim to have its blood supply from voluntary unpaid donors. These are the safest group of donors as the prevalence of blood borne infections (also called Transmission Transmissible Infections (TTIs)) is lowest among them. There four TTIs, namely HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C.
Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health, but many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. Providing safe and adequate blood should be an integral part of every country’s national health care policy and infrastructure. This starts from appropriate sensitization, awareness creation and mass mobilization of entire communities on the issue of blood collection, clinical use and quality process involved from the vein of the donor to the vein of the recipient.
Through the support of APIN alongside other Blood Safety Technical Working Group (TWG), series of activities were put together by National Blood transfusion Service (NBTS) to commemorate 2015 WBDD.
APIN collaborates with NBTS, a division under the Department of Hospital services of the Federal Ministry of Health to provide systems and platforms for availability of qualitative blood in supported facilities within allotted states in Nigeria.
To mark 2015 WBDD celebration, APIN partnered with a Laboratory equipment manufacturer – Sysmex -Partec, to provide appreciation items and IEC materials. These served as tools to appreciate unpaid donors in line with 2015 theme; and also to carry out community mobilization, awareness creation as well as sensitization activities on voluntary blood donation by healthy people who have never given blood.
APIN supported NBTS Abuja Centre, South-West zonal center, Ibadan and North- central zonal center, Jos to mark 2015 WBDD. IECs were provided, Talk shows, rallies, walk for life and ministerial briefing witnessed APIN’s involvement.
APIN central Office organized a joint Blood Drive with NBTS in a community around Jabi District, Abuja. 18 pints of blood were voluntarily donated while three people were deferred. 14 out of these were first time donors and one fourth time donor. In line with health services integration, HIV Prevention messages and other related services (basic clinical examination) were provided during the drive.
To our regular donors ‘Thank you for saving lives’ while we encourage all to ‘Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters’. Happy 2015 WBDD!
By Bunmi Amoo