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FG Cautions Nigerians Against Improper Handling, Coordination, Regulation Of Blood

The federal government has cautioned Nigerians against improper handling, usage, coordination and regulation of blood, saying available report reveals that up to 18 per cent of newly acquired HIV infections in Nigeria are due to unsafe blood transfusions. The minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire stated this recently while delivering a keynote address at the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) Stakeholders Meeting and launching of Ten-Year Strategic Plan, 2021 - 2030 of the Service held at the Nigeria Air Force Conference ( NAF ) Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja. Ehanire who was represented by his Senior Technical Assistant, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, said transfusion transmissible infections include Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis. The minister disclosed that it was the responsibility of his ministry to ensure that Nigerians have access to safe, high quality blood and blood products as a matter of priority, given the prevalent unavailability of safe blood and blood products to address the country's needs to manage the high burden of maternal and child deaths, sickle cell disease, cancer, trauma from road traffic accidents, conflict and insurgency, blood for routine surgical interventions and component production. Ehanire assured Nigerians that when the Bill for the Law establishing the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) was passed, it would ensure that all who are resident in Nigeria would have access to safe blood and blood products when needed, and in an equitable manner. According to him, passing National Blood Service Commission into Law will ensure more effective, efficient coordination and regulation of blood services in Nigeria He advocated that delivering on the vision would rely on more robust quality management systems, robust regulatory frameworks, appropriate quality policies and processes, seamlessly institutionalized in coordinating blood establishments across the country, and a well-motivated, organized and committed staff. The minister also disclosed his endorsement of the "One Million Safe Blood Units Initiative (OMBUI), an initiative of the NBTS to improve, make available enough safe blood units for transfusion and for the establishment of the "National Strategic Safe Blood Reserve that could be swiftly and effectively mobilized during emergencies to ensure Nigeria's population survival, health protection and wellness. He said that the reserves would be warehoused in the six NBTS zonal centres of Kaduna, Maiduguri, Ibadan, Benin, Owerri and Jos. He further disclosed that other warehouses for ease of distribution would include Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja. Ehanire further charged the NBTS on the "long overdue blood component production and blood-related medicinal products in line with the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP). The Minister anchored this charge to NBTS on "a strong institutional capacity to ensure effective regulation of the quality and safety of these blood products. He also looked in the direction of "significant financial returns generated for Government through the production and sale of a suitable range of therapeutic blood products, plasma and plasma-derivative medicinal products (PDMPs) for local, regional and international market and the "job opportunities for a considerable proportion of the unemployed, "additional income that could "reduce pressures on the national budget. On the 10-Year Strategic Plan of the NBTS, Ehanire said it would ensure a good quality, safe and sustainable blood supply with 100 per cent Voluntary Nonremunerated Blood Donation (VNRBD), a robust partnership and stakeholders coordination especially that the plan is with cost implications of N42.3 Billion/ USD112 Million and called on partners to key into the areas that may interest them. Earlier, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora who was represented at the event by his Technical Assistant, Dr. Nneka Orji as well as the Permanent Secretary, Health, Abdulaziz Mashi Abdulahi also represented by the Senior Technical Assistant to the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Abubakar Adanu-Ismael; all expressed solidarity with the NBTS as it conducted the Stakeholders Meeting and the launch of its 10-Years Strategic Plan.

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