NBTS appeals for funds to buy blood screening equipment

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The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) has appealed to the Federal Government for more funds to enable it buy equipment for blood screening.

The National Coordinator, Dr Oluwatoyin Smith, made the appeal on Wednesday in  Abuja.

She said that inadequate equipment had affected the operations of the service, as it worked toward making blood units available to carter for the needs of the Nigerian population.

She added that allocating more funds to the service would aid in resolving the challenges and enable the organisation to achieve its mandate of providing safe blood for the country.

Smith said “government needs to support us financially because our allocation is not adequate at all, so, we need more fund to procure blood screening agents and necessary equipment to maintain them.”

According to her, adequate facilities will enable the service to separate the different components from each unit of blood according to the needs of patients.

She explained that “each unit of blood can be used by three people if we use it well. We are supposed to separate the four different blood components to have Plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Plasma, which makes up about 55 per cent of the body’s total blood volume, is the yellowish liquid component of blood that holds the blood cells in whole blood in suspension. It is the liquid part of the blood that carries cells and proteins throughout the body.

The national coordinator said “the plasma is used to produce factors. You know we have people with hemophilia that are deficient in factor 8, plasma is used to produce that factor.

“Overseas, they do not use the whole blood the way we use here during transfusion, they optimally utilise the blood and separate them into components so that patients can receive exactly what they need. If you only need platelets, you can get that, while the next person takes fresh frozen plasma and so on. So, you are maximally utilising the whole blood.”

Smith said that the service proposed N1.8 billion in its 2020 budget, which would focus on procurement of equipment, properties and establishment of functional blood units in zonal centres.

“We will pursue early passage of the National Blood Service Commisison (NBSC) bill at the National Assembly; acquire property/land to build suitable and befitting accommodation for NBTS operations. Others include laboratories, blood banks and training facilities to establish functional blood component production units in selected zonal centres, as well as pursue accreditation by the African Society for Blood Transfusion (AFSBT).’’

The NBTS boss, therefore, stressed the need for donation and transfusion of blood to save lives during emergencies such as accidents, conflicts, natural disasters and post-delivery women.

Bilkisu Pai