Lagos will not appeal ban on compulsory blood donation – Commissioner

Posted by News Express | 5 March 2020 | 604 times

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•Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu

By ANGELA ONWUZOO

The Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has said the state government will not appeal the ruling that banned state-owned hospitals from demanding compulsory blood donation from husbands of pregnant women seeking antenatal and maternity services.

He, however, warned that expectant mothers, accident victims and other persons who may need a blood transfusion in the course of treatment may suffer from the acute blood shortage that the ruling may eventually cause.

An Ikeja High Court in a judgment on Monday by Justice Raliat Adebiyi declared the practice as “arbitrary, unfair and a violation of human rights as enshrined in Section 38(1) of the 1999 Constitution.

The court subsequently ordered government hospitals in the state to stop demanding compulsory blood donations from husbands of pregnant women seeking antenatal and maternity services.

The PUNCH HealthWise had, on February 9, 2020, reported that: Corruption, anti-poor policies worsen acute blood shortages at Lagos’ hospitals.

But the judgment was delivered following a fundamental human rights suit filed by the trustees of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project.

Reacting to the judgment, Abayomi said the state government had banned compulsory blood donations in all its hospitals before the court judgment on Monday.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise, the commissioner said, “The judgment is in line with the already existing Ministry of Health policy on elimination of compulsory pre-antenatal registration blood donation via circular No: LSMH 1638/VOL T/19, dated 2nd of April, 2019 and with the World Health Organisation’s mandate of having 100 percent voluntary blood donation by 2020.

“Following this policy, voluntary blood donation had increased by 22 percent.

“The state government will not appeal the judgment.”

Commenting on the implication of the judgment, Abayomi, however, warned, “there will be reduced availability of blood to individuals if actions to increase voluntary blood donation are not intensified.”

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 sensitisation in all healthcare facilities, to encourage behavioral change and make voluntary blood donation a 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 shortage of blood that might arise as a result of the court order.

The Chief Medical Director of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, has warned that the court order banning compulsory blood donation in the state might lead to an acute shortage.

While toeing the same line as the state Commissioner of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who said the Lagos State government will not appeal the ruling, Fabamwo however warned that expectant mothers, accident victims and other persons who may need blood transfusion in the course of treatment, may suffer from acute blood shortage that the ruling may result to in the long run.

An Ikeja High Court had, on Monday, ordered government hospitals in Lagos State to stop demanding compulsory blood donations from husbands of pregnant women seeking antenatal and maternity services.

The court, in a judgment by Justice Raliat Adebiyi, declared the practice as “arbitrary, unfair and a violation of human rights as enshrined in Section 38(1) of the 1999 Constitution.

The PUNCH HealthWise had, on February 9, 2020, reported that: Corruption, anti-poor policies worsen acute blood shortages at Lagos’ hospitals.

However, the judgment was delivered following a fundamental human rights suit filed by the trustees of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project.

Reacting to the judgment, Abayomi said the state government had banned compulsory blood donation in all its hospitals before the court judgment on Monday.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise, the commissioner said, “The judgment is in line with the already existing Ministry of Health policy on elimination of compulsory pre-antenatal registration blood donation via circular No: LSMH 1638/VOL T/19, dated 2nd of April, 2019 and with the World Health Organisation’s mandate of having 100 percent voluntary blood donation by 2020.

“Following this policy, voluntary blood donation had increased by 22 percent.

“The state government will not appeal the judgment.”

Commenting on the implication of the judgment, Abayomi, however, warned, “there will be a reduced availability of blood to individuals if actions to increase voluntary blood donation are not intensified.”

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 sensitisation in all healthcare facilities, to encourage behavioral change and make voluntary blood donation a 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 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 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 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.”

Fambamwo 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. (The Punch)


Source: News Express

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