Shortly after court order outlawing Lagos State hospitals from forcefully obtaining blood donation from the patient, the medical team in Lagos as reacted to the judgement, at same time deliberating on what next to do. Going forward, the commissioner said, there were already existing measures which were being taken by the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service to meet up with the shortfall of blood for transfusion in the state.
“One of them is the promotion of voluntary blood donation through advocacy and sensitization in all healthcare facilities, to encourage behavioural change and make voluntary blood donation culture in the state,” he enthused.
The commissioner disclosed that the LBTS would be organising voluntary blood campaigns in all local governments as well as in tertiary institutions and secondary schools across the state.
He further said the state government would strengthen the capacity of Hospital Transfusion Committees to perform their functions with Key Performance Indicators related to recruitment and retention of voluntary blood donors, to cushion the effect of the shortage of blood that might arise as a result of the court order.
Corroborating the views of the commissioner, the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, said Lagos State government had barred compulsory blood donation in all its hospitals before the court judgment on Monday.
The LASUTH CMD told our Correspondent that all Lagos State hospitals would comply with the court order.
“In April 2019, the Lagos State Ministry of Health had sent out a circular, telling medical directors not to make blood donation mandatory again in Lagos State hospitals.
“The circular was signed by the former permanent secretary in the ministry.
“So, I think the practice had been abolished in Lagos State hospitals since April 2019 and SERAP had instituted their case before April 2019.
“It’s just that it is now that the case has been decided.
“So, when SERAP initiated that case in court, the Lagos State government responded proactively by banning mandatory blood donation in its hospitals in April 2019.
“So, the ban is really not new,” Fabamwo said.
According to him, the court had ruled and it must be obeyed.
In terms of the consequences of the judgment, however, the maternal health expert said, “The ruling has been made, hospitals have to comply.
“But the consequences would not be palatable.
“There is going to be an acute shortage of blood in our blood banks and the mortality rate among pregnant women is likely to increase.
“Accident victims are likely to suffer from a lack of blood transfusion. It has a lot of consequences.
“I think that we, who administer hospitals, we are going to have a challenge on our hands.
“There will be no blood for pregnant women who bleed during delivery.”
Fabamwo, therefore, appealed to husbands of pregnant women to voluntarily donate blood, stressing that availability of “blood is important during delivery.”
Calling for proper counselling in blood transfusion services, the LASUTH CMD said, “Instead of mandatory blood donation which the court has ruled against, you can counsel husbands of pregnant women to voluntarily donate for their wives.
“I believe that if you ask 100 men to donate blood for their wives, at least 60 will respond. This approach will help and that is the way to go, going forward.”
Reacting to the judgment, President, Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Francis Faduyile, said blood donation should not be made compulsory.
Faduyile, however, told our Correspondent that the judgment might have a negative consequence on maternal health in the state, as men whose wives are pregnant might not be willing to donate blood anymore.
“But in good medical practice, there is nothing that should be by compulsion. I think in the spirit of legal decision, it is right. But in the spirit of having blood for emergency treatment, we may have a problem in the long run,” he warned.