By Oluwabukola Akanni
Ibadan – The National Blood Transfusion Service, South-west Zone, says that regular voluntary blood donation reduces risks of heart, liver and kidney diseases, obesity and strokes.
Mrs Oyinsola Adeleke, the Acting Coordinator, said this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Ibadan on the sideline of the 2018 World Blood Donor Day (WBDD).
NAN reports that the WBDD was established in 2004 by the World Health Organisation to help raise awareness on the need for regular blood donations to provide safe blood and availability of blood products.
The global event is also a day to appreciate all voluntary blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
The 2018 theme is tagged “Blood Connects Us All”.
Adeleke who urged Nigerians to make voluntary blood donation a habit, said that regular blood donation helps the body to produce new blood cells and reduces workload on the heart, kidney and liver.
“Studies have shown that voluntary regular blood donation help to reduce the risk of heart disease by producing new blood cells and reducing the excessive iron buildup in the body.
“Excessive iron build up in the body can cause oxidative damage, a major cause of heart attacks and strokes,” she said.
According to her, regular blood donation also helps in weight loss and improves physical fitness.
The Donor Care Manager, Mrs Yemi Jayeiola, however, decried the low number of voluntary non-remunerated blood donors.
According to her, this has contributed to the level of avoidable deaths especially among children and women.
She said that the expected daily walk-in of voluntary blood donors was 50, but they only get between two and 10 on a daily basis.
She attributed this low turn out to low level of awareness, inadequate funding and cultural misconceptions.
“People should know that when they give blood voluntarily on a regular basis, they are not only saving lives, they also benefit from it.
“We encourage adults between ages 18 and 65 to engage in voluntary blood donation and such person should weigh at least 50kg.
“Healthy females are encouraged to donate blood every four month and males every three month.
“Blood donation helps save millions of lives annually and helps with the recovery and health of patients who have serious illnesses or injuries.
“People needing blood transfusion include pregnant women with complications, anaemic patients, cancer patients and accident patients,’’ she said.
According to her, blood donation is a safe process which only takes about thirty minutes.
She appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to donate more in order to improve access to safe blood and save as many lives as possible.