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Why donated blood is not free for patients

LUTH professor urged Nigerians to donate blood voluntarily to help the country meet the WHO’s expected blood needs annually.

Why donated blood is not free for patients [VOA News]

Osunkalu spoke against the backdrop whereby many Nigerians believe that blood that has been donated should be given free to patients who need blood.

According to him, before any blood is transfused into a patient, it must have met the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s mandatory screening for various diseases which involves costs.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that blood donation occurs when a person voluntarily has blood drawn from him/her and used for transfusions.

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Osunkalu said: “It is very good for us to clear the misconception that once people donate blood, it should be given free to patients who need it.

“For every blood donated, there is a cost attached to it. The special bag used to collect blood from donors is above N4,000, grouping and cross matching is also done to be sure the person receiving the blood is compatible with the donor.

“Donated blood is screened for Hepatitis A, B and C, HIV , syphilis and other diseases covered by the World Health Organisation before blood transfusion; and all these various screenings come at cost.

“When you add up all the costs, you will realise that the cost of giving out blood in government-owned hospital is highly subsidised.”

He urged Nigerians to donate blood voluntarily to help the country meet the WHO’s expected blood needs annually.

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“The WHO estimates that blood donation by 1 per cent population of a country is generally the minimum needed to meet a nation’s basic requirement for blood bank.

“Nigeria gets only 27% of its annual blood needs leaving a shortfall of about 73% of need every year.

“We appeal to Nigerians to donate their blood to make blood available and save lives,” he said.

Osunkalu also urged health personnel to ensure blood safety during donation and transfusion.

“Once you give blood, you cannot take it back, all the activity to ensure the safety of blood begins even before the blood is collected.

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“The person donating blood must meet certain criteria to donate; physicians, lab scientists and even clerical staff writing the names and exact group on the blood bag must carry out their task diligently,” he stated.

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