Government blames Boko Haram sect for blood shortage in hospitals

Blood bank

The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) was unable to realise its blood bank target for 2011 as a result of the activities of the Boko Haram sect in the northern part of the country.

Adaeze Oreh, the Abuja Centre Coordinator of NBTS, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday that the agency was unable to collect the targeted volume of blood from donors due to the security challenges in the country.

She put the country’s blood requirement at more than 100,000 units per annum.

“We could only get less than 50 per cent of the blood requirement in 2011,” she said.

Ms. Oreh noted with regret that in spite of the agency’s efforts at ensuring that blood was made available to hospitals, it was unable to collect blood from many donors, especially in the north.

She explained that a greater percentage of donors were from churches and mosques, who were constrained by the security challenges.

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“With the churches and mosques suddenly being faced with security challenges, it is now difficult for the agency to go to the places of worship to collect blood.

“Most of the time, churches and mosques rushed their worship services and other programmes, and before we arrive at those places, the members have already been dispersed.”

Ms. Oreh explained that the ASUU strike that led to the closure of universities for two months also curtailed the efforts of the agency at collecting the targeted volume of blood from donors.

She said that majority of blood donors were among the youth in tertiary institutions.

Ms. Oreh, who is also the agency’s Project Consultant, said January 2012 was particularly tough, with regards to the drive for blood donation, but expressed optimism that the months ahead would be better.

“February has been quite promising and hopefully, more voluntary donors will be encouraged to come forward to enable NBTS to achieve its mandate in providing the nation’s health facilities with safe blood.”

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