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Blood Bank Society addresses challenges in blood banking system in Nigeria

By Ijeoma Nwanosike
18 November 2022   |   3:32 am
The Blood Bank Society of Nigeria (BBSN) Lagos state branch has addressed issues in the blood banking system and made recommendations through Quality Management System (QMS) and automation to bridge this gap.

The Blood Bank Society of Nigeria (BBSN) Lagos state branch has addressed issues in the blood banking system and made recommendations through Quality Management System (QMS) and automation to bridge this gap.

This was addressed during the 10th scientific conference and investiture of the society, which was held last week at Sickle Cell Foundation IdI-Araba, Lagos with the theme: “Quality Management System in Blood Banking -Globalisation of products services standard.”

The keynote speaker from University of Calabar Teaching hospital, Prof. Anthony Emeribe, said the challenges faced is on blood availability. He said that donor blood is critical in managing certain medical conditions whether it is child-bearing, road accidents, anemia or leukemia; donor blood is required to improve the health of such patients.

“In Nigeria, we are still having challenges of inadequate donor blood to fill the required shelves and as a matter of fact, the projection is that we require about 1.5 million units of blood each year but we are yet to get up to 40 per cent of that need,” he said.

He continued that the conference is not only to sensitise practitioners in blood banking but also to sensitise the public that is the donor community. He said: “In our country, most of the blood donors are remunerated, which should not be the case because the ideal thing, which we are advocating is to have non-remunerated blood donors; Blood donors who have that incentive to give their blood to support health without receiving anything for it.

“When a donor goes so low as to start receiving remuneration to donate blood, you are not sure of the quality and my presentation today is on the quality management system in blood banking and for you to have quality donor blood, you have to have the right healthy person to donate such blood.”

The Professor also said that the recommendations they are making is that all established blood banking needs to incorporate ample elements of quality improvements and that there is also need to change the paradigm we have where most of the donors are remunerated to non-remunerated blood donors; there is also need for quality improvements in the various centres, which should involve engaging the staffs and training them from time to time, emphasising in behavioural change and ethics in blood banking to get the best.

Emeribe also talked about the gap between the hospital and blood bank system emphasising that a number of blood banks are not in the hospital where the patient is going to be transfused and so referring to the linkage. He said: “There must be communication for example; if a hospital in Ikeja requires blood and the kind of blood group required is somewhere in VI, how would they get linked to make the transfusion possible. Now, we have what we call the connect app here in Lagos and using the app you will be able to know where a particular blood group is available and how best to get it to the particular centre, hospital or clinic where it is required.

Speaking on safety and issue of returning blood, Emeribe said: “When blood is required and ordered from the blood bank, that blood is expected to be transfused within 30 minutes after leaving its storage temperature and not more than four hours because blood beyond four hours outside the bank will not be optimally useful to the patient that receives it and there are adverse effects to the patients who goes ahead and receives the blood; there could be what we call transfusion reaction which could be mild, moderate or fatal. Donor blood is to improve health not to cause more hazard to the patients that receive it and that is why we maintain these ethics and standards in blood banking.”

The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Blood transfusion service, Dr. Bodunrin Osikomaiya, at the event debunked the myth on women blood donation. She said the idea that women cannot donate blood is false and therefore encourages women to come out, get the necessary checks to find out their eligibility to donate blood. She said: “Women donors are on the increase and the data of women donors from 2020 was about 11 per cent and that of 2021 was 20 percent so they are gradually increasing. Women who are mostly ineligible to donate blood are women who are in their monthly menstruation, pregnant or breast-feeding; other than that any healthy woman who passes the set out requirements and adequately tested can donate blood.”