In view of the need to address cultural and religious beliefs that militate against safe blood transfusion in Nigeria, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) will deepen advocacy to traditional and religious leaders across the country.
Director-General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari disclosed this when he received the National Coordinator of NBTS, Dr Omale Joseph Amedu on a working visit.
Abari noted that many Nigerians are not aware of the health benefits of blood donation, while some of the few who are aware refrain from donating because of strongly held beliefs and practices. These, he said, have led to huge avoidable loss of lives in times of emergency.
“The issues of cultural cum religious beliefs that are inimical to voluntary blood donation must be addressed and changed in order to encourage people to donate and access safe blood. Some of these beliefs and practices have no scientific basis and so they have to be re-examined and in order to do that, traditional rulers and religious leaders must be involved. Also, the benefits of voluntary blood donation need to be properly articulated to adequately mobilize citizens to donate”, Abari said.
Earlier, the NBTS National Coordinator, Dr. Amedu said the mandate of the Service is to provide quality and adequate supplies of safe blood in an adequate and cost effective manner to all people resident in Nigeria.
He however lamented the low level of voluntary blood donation in Nigeria, attributing it largely to inhibiting cultural and religious norms.
While hinting on plans by the Service to boost the number of its centres from the current 17 in order to make safe blood services more available to Nigerians, Amedu said NBTS was counting on NOA support to amplify blood safety messages and blood donation advocacy in the country in line with the third global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-3).