The Federal Government on Friday warned against using rapid test-kits to screen blood meant for transfusion purposes in the country.
Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, gave the directive at a news conference to commemorate the National Blood Donation day campaign in Abuja.
Pate, represented by the Director, Tertiary Hospital Division of the Ministry, Dr Amuno Ogbonna, said the order was in line with the resolutions made during the 55th National Council on Health to ensure unhindered access to safe blood and blood products.
He added that the National Blood Service Commission had commenced the registration of hospital blood banks and Blood Establishments nationwide for effective regulation of their activities.
He stated, “I wish to remind all blood safety stakeholders that the use of enzyme- linked immunosorbent assay technique remains the minimum standard for screening of blood meant for transfusion purposes in Nigeria.
“I further wish to reiterate that the continuous use of rapid test-kits to screen blood meant for blood transfusion in Nigeria is unacceptable and I urge stakeholders to ensure that they fully comply with this decision,” the minister said.
Earlier, Acting Director General, NBSC, Dr Eneye Suberu, said the occasion was to ensure year-round blood donation, to maintain adequate supplies and achieve universal and timely access to safe blood transfusion.
“This campaign is to bring voluntary blood donation to the consciousness of the citizens through sensitisation and public enlightenment activities, and varied forms of media engagement. Highlight the need for committed, year-round blood donation, to maintain adequate supplies and achieve universal and timely access to safe blood transfusion,” he said.
The highest blood donor, Mr Mzega Michael, who donated seventy six times, urged the government to accelerate provision of more donation centres as the 15 in the country were inadequate.
The 2023 edition of the event with the theme, “Blood donation the real act of humanity; Donate blood, give smiles,” highlights the fundamental human values of kindness and altruism which motivate the act of voluntary unpaid blood donation.