A haematologist, Dr Abdul-Aziz Hassan, on Tuesday said that Nigeria needed about 1.7 million units of donated blood per annum.
Hassan, the Head of Haematology and Blood Transfusion Department, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria, made the assertion at a programme to commemorate the World Blood Donor Day in Zaria.
The consultant haematologist, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the programme, said 100 million units of blood are donated across the world annually.
According to him, more than 60 per cent of this figure is, however, collected in the developed countries.
“As we talk now, there are about 100 million units of blood that are being donated annually all over the world.
` Unfortunately, more than 60 per cent of that is being collected in the Western World.
“With the population of over 170 million people in Nigeria, we need at least 1.7 million units annually, but we only collect about 400,000 to 500,000 units per annum.
` This is very unfortunate,” he said.
According to Hassan, most of the blood donated in Nigeria is by family replacement donor.
“ This simply means donation by a person whose relative is in the hospital and requires blood transfusion.
“So you cannot call that one voluntary donation because he or she is donating to fulfil the requirement of his or her relations or parents,” he said.
Hassan, however, described blood donors as very important segment of the society hence the need for the celebration to appreciate their gigantic effort at saving lives.
“We celebrate this day just to show appreciation to our voluntary blood donors who usually come and give us blood without being paid anything.
“ We called them voluntary non-remunerated donors.
“ This group of people have been giving selfless service to humanity because the blood they give is being given out to people they don’t even know, including accident and bomb blast victims among others,” Hassan said.
The guest speaker at the occasion, Dr Baba Doko, had described blood as an important organ of the body “which cannot be created but can only be donated by individuals like you and me.”
He said that before blood is transfused into the body, it must be screened, tested and audited.
Doko appealed to more Nigerians to voluntarily donate blood to save humanity. (NAN)