Port Harcourt - The Military on Thursday
called for voluntary blood donation by more Nigerians to help save the lives of
security personnel and civilians injured in counter-insurgency operations in
the North East.
Brig.-Gen. Nathan Okeji, the Commander, Military Hospital,
Port Harcourt, made this appeal at the Armed Forces Blood Centre during the
commemoration of the 2015 World Blood Donor Day in Port Harcourt.
He said that the military had begun collecting blood from
donors for this purpose.
Okeji said that many military personnel and civilians who
needed blood urgently could not afford it as a unit of blood costs N50, 000.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set aside today to
celebrate and encourage people to freely donate blood to save the lives of
accident victims and surgery patients, among others.
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“This blood donation exercise is targeted at getting as much
blood as possible to enable patients who need blood have access to it at little
or no cost.”
Okeji, who is the Coordinator of Armed Forces Blood Bank,
said that more than 200 units of blood were needed for distribution to injured
military personnel and civilians nationwide.
“When more than 200 units of blood are realised, they will
be taken to north-east and the Niger Delta, where there are problems of Boko
Haram and militancy.
“We are asking that as many people as possible should come
out and freely donate blood, so that lives can be saved.”
According to the commander, the exercise also affords donors
the opportunity to be freely screened for HIV and other blood-related ailments.
Similarly, Mrs Umah Imaobong, the Chief Nursing Officer of
the Federal Ministry of Health and Donor Care Manager, said the nation needed
at least 10,000 units of blood monthly.
She said that 200 units of blood currently realised on
monthly basis was grossly inadequate, adding that there was severe shortage of
blood in hospitals across the country.
“Blood is not something that can be substituted. When a
doctor says a patient needs blood, there is no other alternative than to
provide the blood.
“Failure to provide the blood will lead to death of the
Imaobong said that accident victims, sickle cell carriers,
pregnant women, surgery and HIV patients, among others, needed blood on daily
basis to survive.
“Thousands of people are dying on daily because they cannot
have access to blood; whereas their lives could have been saved, if people made
it a habit to donate blood.”
Imaobong urged on members of the public between the ages of
18 and 65 to visit Military Hospitals to donate blood.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that hundreds of
people took part in street procession in Port Harcourt to create awareness on
the World Blood Donor Day to be celebrated on Sunday.