SERAP urges Sanwo-Olu to obey judgment stopping compulsory blood donation in Lagos hospitals
A Lagos-based rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has urged the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to stop all Lagos hospitals and health facilities from demanding compulsory blood donation from any patient or their relatives as pre-condition for medical attention either in ante-natal and maternal or any other health services.
The judgment was delivered on Monday by Justice Raliat Adebiyi of the Lagos High Court on a suit brought by the group.In the judgment, the judge held that demanding compulsory blood donation from those seeking medical attention, including maternity services, was arbitrary, unfair and a violation of their human rights, including the rights to life and to equal opportunity for everyone within the health system.
The judgment, in suit number ID/2759GCM/2018, also ordered the Lagos State Government to immediately stop and discontinue the policy of insisting on compulsory blood donation.
But in a letter dated March 3, 2020 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group urged the governor to use his leadership position to “instruct the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, to immediately fully and effectively enforce the judgment stopping all Lagos hospitals and health facilities from demanding compulsory blood donation from any patient or their relatives as pre-condition for medical attention either in antenatal and maternal or any other health services.”
The group said: “As Justice Adebiyi stated in her judgment, your enforcement of the judgment will be consistent with Section 33 of Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), which guarantees the right to life; and Articles 2 (a) 3 and 12 (1) of the International Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, which requires the health system, including in Lagos State, to provide equal opportunity for everyone.
“The enforcement of the judgment will also show Lagos State as a champion of the SDGs and be entirely consistent with international standards and best practices, including those developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which recognise that the safest blood donors are voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors. The WHO has in fact recommended that no coercion should be brought to bear upon the donor to donate.
“The effective enforcement of the judgment will also improve maternal health, comply with WHO’s policy to improve the availability and use of safe blood to save the lives of women during and after childbirth, as well as ensure universal access to safe blood transfusion, particularly for patients that are vulnerable to blood shortages and to HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections, in support of the SDGs.
“We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your actions in instructing Abayomi to enforce and implement Justice Adebiyi’s judgment.“We look forward to working with you, Abayomi and the Lagos State Ministry of Health in the efforts to enforce and implement the judgment. We would be happy to provide further information or to discuss any of these issues in more details with you.”