By Justina Auta
The Federal Government on Saturday engaged youths on voluntary blood donation to improve blood services as an effective way of boosting the health system in the country.
The Acting Director General, National Blood Service Commission (NBTS), Dr Joseph Amedu, at a retreat of Club 25 Nigeria and establishment of After 25 in Abuja said blood donation will save lives and promote healthy lifestyles.
“Recruiting and retaining youth donors not only improves the long term safety and sufficiency of a country’s blood supply.
“It will also reduce the prevalence of Transfusion Transmissible Infections (TTIs) by promoting safe and healthy lifestyles among young people,” he said.
According to him, the commission has formed advocacy and school donor clubs, blood donor ambassadors, established blood collection centres, community and media engagement.
He said the Club 25 Nigeria is made up of donors, who were committed to voluntarily donating blood at least 25 times before their 25th birthday.
“There is a large gap between blood supply and demand in Nigeria. We expect people to come voluntarily to donate blood but most of the donation are from commercial donation.
“The commission has put in place strategies to ensure safe blood and blood products for Nigeria especially for accidents cases, cancer patients, children, maternal health, transfusion
“This retreat by the commission to put together her foot soldiers responsible for convincing Nigerians on the need to voluntary donate blood to save lives.
“This retreat is to reunite previous people that have been involved in blood donation to sensitise, advocate and enlighten Nigerians on the need to donate blood willingly.
“We are encouraging the youths to join this group and we are even going further to ensure that a school programs to teach them young on voluntary blood donation,”he said.
Abdullahi Idris, National President and pioneer member of Club 25 Nigeria stressed the need for regular blood donation to reduce mortality rates arising from inadequate blood supply due to ailments and accidents.
“My overall motivation is to save lives and i advise eligible Nigerians to join in saving lives as this is my 56th blood donation,” he said.
Similarly, Mrs Munirat Munir, 21 times blood donor encouraged the youths to engage in regular free blood donation without expecting any remuneration.
She said, “regular blood donation saves lives, as well as encouraged her to live a healthy lifestyle.” (NAN)