By Justina Auta
The Federal Government has inaugurated the National Blood Transfusion Service’s (NBTS) Apheresis blood component separation system and automated blood screening equipment.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said at the inauguration in Abuja, that it would improve access to safe, quality and affordable blood and blood products in the country.
Ehanire said that with the high technology equipment, the manufacturing of plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMPs) would satisfy the blood product needs of the country in the near future.
The minister urged investors to collaborate with NBTSs to invest in it.
“We anticipate that with the introduction of safe, quality blood component separation and automated screening, NBTS will be able to satisfy critical blood product needs in a timely manner for local demands in our hospitals and as well export to neighbouring countries.
“This is commendable as it shall through internally generated revenue, recoup government’s investments, being a well-meaningful initiative.
“In time, through the production and sale of a suitable range of therapeutic blood products, plasma and plasma-derivative medicinal products regionally and internationally; this will establish Nigeria’s National Blood Service as a key player in transfusion medicine in sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.
According to him, this will also create jobs, wealth and yield additional income for development, thus reducing the pressures on the national budget through revenue generation.
“The use of advanced technology presents ample opportunity for broad-based collaborations and partnerships as interested stakeholders will be invited to invest in the large-scale production of plasma derived products,’’ he said.
On the passage of the National Blood Service Commission Bill, Ehanire said that an early assent by the President would guarantee NBTS service speedy growth and development of blood products in Nigeria.
Similarly, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunimbe Mamora, commended the NBTS for improving number of voluntary blood donors and ensuring uninterrupted blood services nationwide.
Mamora, therefore, assured the agency of the ministry’s supports and commitment toward ensuring safe, quality provision of necessary blood and blood components in the country.
Dr Omale Joseph Amedu, the National Coordinator, NBTS, said that the provision of automated blood screening and various blood components would ensure appropriate clinical use of blood in hospitals.
Amedu said that it would also reduce laboratory turn-around times and minimise transfusion-transmissible infections such as HIV, hepatitis B & C and syphilis and reduce adverse transfusion reactions and events in blood transfusion recipients.
“NBTS will become a more effective and efficient coordinator and regulator of blood services in Nigeria.
“This will ensure that all who are resident in Nigeria have access to safe blood when needed and in an equitably distributed manner.
“The impact of this for the country’s health indices will be a testament to the contributions of NBTS to the country’s health sector,’’ he said.
On his part, Prof. Innocent Ujah, President, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) represented by Dr Ahmed Attah, said that the commissioning of the equipment would improve the country’s health indices.
In the same vein, Mr Salisu Idris, Country Director, Safe Blood for Africa Foundation (SBAF) urged the government to allocate more funds in the health sector to improve service delivery. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)