Blood donation/NBSC
Bags of donated blood in a blood bank

World Blood Donor Day: Expert calls for national haemovigilance system

A Consultant Haematologist, Dr Peter Ogundeji, has called for the establishment of a national haemovigilance system to ensure quality and safety in blood transfusion.

Ogundeji, who works at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.

He made the call ahead of the World Blood Donor Day celebrated annually on June 14, with the theme “Donating blood is an act of solidarity”. The day set aside by the World Health Organisation seeks to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products, and to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.

Ogundeji noted that the existence of robust machinery for haemovigilance in hospitals and blood banks was not fully entrenched in the country. Haemovigilance is a set of surveillance procedures covering the whole transfusion chain from the collection of blood and its components to the follow-up of recipients.

Ogundeji said that haemovigilance monitored possible adverse effects associated with blood transfusion therapy, and reports such to appropriate authorities for investigation to prevent their recurrence.

According to him, such reports should be properly coordinated between the blood transfusion service, hospital clinical staff and transfusion laboratories, regulatory agencies, and national health authorities. He, however, said that blood transfusion reaction was rare if the right measures were taken in the processing of the blood.

The haematologist noted that the commonest cause of blood transfusion reaction was identification challenges, arising from giving the right blood to the wrong person due to lack of appropriate measures.

He appealed for the domestication of the law by more states and implementation for the regulation to improve blood transfusion service in the country. He recommended that men should donate blood once in three months, while women should donate once in four months.

He stressed that regular and voluntary blood donation would ensure adequate supplies and timely access to safe blood transfusion for patients who required it.