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FG warns against using rapid test kits for blood screening

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

The Federal Government of Nigeria has issued a stern warning to hospitals and blood establishments against using rapid test kits for blood screening.

It also revealed that the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) has commenced the registration of all hospital blood banks and blood establishments nationwide for effective regulation of their activities.

Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate, who gave the warning on Friday in Abuja at a news conference to commemorate the National Blood Donation Day campaign.

The year’s theme, “Blood donation the real act of humanity; Donate blood, give smiles”, highlights the fundamental human values of kindness and altruism that motivate the act of voluntary, unpaid blood donation.

Pate, who was represented by the Director, Tertiary Hospital Division of the Ministry, Dr Amuno Ogbonna, said this was in line with the resolutions made during the 55th National Council on Health to ensure unhindered access to safe blood and blood products.

“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 all stakeholders to ensure that they fully comply with this government’s decision,” he said.

The Acting Director General of NBSC, Dr Eneye Suberu, explained that the occasion was meant to ensure year-round blood donation, maintain adequate supplies, and achieve universal and timely access to safe blood transfusion.

He said, “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 Micheal, who has donated 67 times, urged the government to accelerate the provision of more donation centres as the 15 available are inadequate.

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