To buttress the importance of blood for the survival of humans, a Haematologist has called on kind-hearted Nigerians to take the issue of blood donation as a duty they must perform for humanity.
Dr. Adebisi Adetolua revealed this in a chat with this medium recently in Osogbo.
She said that from experience, Nigerians attached all sorts of taboo to the practice of donating blood; a practice which had helped to save countless numbers of lives that would have been lost due to loss of blood or non-availability of blood to carry out blood transfusion.
According to her, “most traditional and religious beliefs still attach some form of taboos and redline against the practice of blood donation.
“Some religious sects have advocated a policy of no blood transfusion that has disallowed their adherents from seeking the option of blood transfusion even in medical emergencies and also from voluntarily allowing their members from donating blood”.
The Haematologist revealed that such organisations were supposed to be in the forefront of championing the campaign for the encouragement of the practice, adding that government had played its part and it cannot force the citizens to carry out the practice.
”Many factors contribute to the problems facing blood donation in the country. These factors include donating of unscreened blood, taboos, short fall of eligible blood donors [on health grounds] all which had contributed to depletion of blood reserves all over blood banks in the country.
“The most annoying thing is that even family members of patients that need blood transfusions to survive are reluctant to donate blood.
“They prefer to contribute money amongst themselves to get touts who hang around blood banks in designated hospitals to buy blood from them.
“Another situation which had further increased the rate is unscreened blood being transfused on unsuspecting patients. This unscreened blood may have been infected with Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and other blood related infections.”
She called on government and all its agencies to put hands on deck and work out a comprehensive blood donor policy in order to ensure maximum survival of its citizen.
The Haematologist stressed that the benefits of blood donation include good health and a reduced risk of cancer and haemochromatosis which is a health condition that arises due to excess absorption of iron by the body.
She revealed that haemochromatosis may either be inherited, caused by prolonged intake of alcohol, anaemia or other disorder, thus regular blood donation may help in reducing iron overload.
According to her, amongst the benefits is also maintenance of a healthy heart and liver, weight loss for the obese and people who are at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and stimulation of blood cell production.
“It helps in reducing the risk of damage to liver and pancreas. Donating blood may help in improving cardiovascular health and reducing obesity.
“It is important to know that human blood cannot be manufactured, people are the only source of it and that is why it is important to donate blood and help those who need it.
“It is possible to store your own blood for future needs but there is need for the blood to be stored in a good and hygienic blood bank”.
She however warned that blood donation should not be very frequent and there was need for consultation with a doctor before donating to avoid any health issues.