The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire on Tuesday said the passing of the National Blood Service Commission bill into Law will ensure more effective, efficient coordination and regulation of blood services in Nigeria.
Dr. Ehanire while speaking at the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) Stakeholders Meeting and launching of Ten-Year Strategic Plan, 2021 – 2030 of the Service in Abuja said that when the Bill for the Law establishing the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) is passed, it would ensure that all who are resident in Nigeria will have access to safe blood and blood products when needed, and in an equitable manner.
He also advocated that delivering on this 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.
Represented by his Senior Technical Assistant, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, the Minister 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 can be swiftly and effectively mobilized during emergencies to ensure Nigeria’s population survival, health protection and wellness.
He said that the reserves will be warehoused in the six NBTS zonal centres of Kaduna, Maiduguri, Ibadan, Benin, Owerri and Jos.
He added that other warehouses for ease of distribution will include Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja.
Dr. Ehanire further charged the NBTS on the “long overdue” blood component production and blood-related medicinal products in line with the Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP). The Honourable Minister anchored this charge to NBTS on “a strong institutional capacity” to ensure effective regulation of the quality and safety of these blood products
The Minister however cautioned against improper handling, usage, coordination and regulation of blood. He disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Health’s report of 2018 revealed that up to 18% of newly acquired HIV infections in Nigeria are due to unsafe blood transfusions.
He said transfusion transmissible infections include Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis.
On the 10-Year Strategic Plan of the NBTS, Dr. Ehanire said it will ensure a good quality, safe and sustainable blood supply with 100% Voluntary Non-remunerated Blood Donation (VNRBD), a robust partnership and stakeholders coordination especially that the plan is with cost implications of N42.3 Billion/USD112 Million.
He thereby called on partners to key into the areas that may interest them.