Save lives, donate blood
Every year, Nigeria loses an estimate of 59,000 women to predictable and easily prevented deaths. Each week, 1,131 women die in childbirth. In the last seven days, 1,131 Nigerian families have lost mothers, friends, sisters and daughters to pregnancy. Every week, more children are forced to grow up without mothers, and are subjected to the difficulties that entails. These children are more likely to die before their fifth birthday. The horror of maternal mortality affects the family, the community and country as a whole; and it is high time we found a sustainable solution.
Availability of safe blood means life for countless pregnant women and young children in Nigeria. Ensuring that clean safe blood is available in each hospital means life for so many. Of the 59,000 victims of maternal mortality, about 26,000 died for lack of safe blood. Each year, Nigerian communities lose thousands of citizens due to a failure of citizenship and a failure of our institutions; both public and private.
This is also a failure of the health system that neglects its duties of making it easy for citizens to fulfill their responsibility. Saving Nigerian lives from preventable deaths requires action from citizens like you. The government is charged with fixing systemic issues that will allow public health centers and hospitals to function efficiently and deliver the best care. However, a normal citizen is charged with doing all he/she can to help reduce maternal mortality in their community by giving blood.
Availability of safe blood means life for countless pregnant women and young children in Nigeria. Ensuring that clean safe blood is available in each hospital can change things. Blood from 100% volunteer donors can save thousands but Nigerians hardly donate blood voluntarily. Recent reports show that 60% of all blood donations are from commercial donors, 30% from family replacement and only 10% are from voluntary donors. Those who do donate blood belong to a generation that is fast disappearing. Also, the little blood collected are not properly screened or distributed so many Nigerian lives are lost or severely handicapped.
There is something any Nigerian could do to help save the lives of 26,000 Nigerian women annually or 500 every week. It does not require that you give money or put yourself in danger. You only have to do this three times every year to get to help save 500 women a week. It only takes about an hour of your time, every 3 months and we only need 1% of Nigerians to do this. We can collectively reduce maternal mortality by 25%. Would you do it?
Temie Giwa Tubosun is the Founder and CEO of LifeBank, a company using technology, big data, and smart logistics to solve blood shortage in Nigeria. She has over 10 years of work experience in global health., and has worked as a Global Health Fellow at the United Nations Development Project Millennium Village in Ruhiira, Uganda, and for the World Health Organization and DFID in Switzerland and Nigeria respectively, as well as in the Ministry of Works in the Lagos State Government as the Operations Manager.