As part of activities to commemorate World Leukaemia Day, Timilehin Leukaemia Foundation (TLF) has partnered with the Lagos State Blood Transmission Service, an agency of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Fidson Healthcare Plc, spare parts dealers association and private individuals, to promote blood donation.
The programme, which took place in Ikeja on Thursday, was organised by TLF to support the donation of blood for leukaemia patients.
Janet Oyedele, founder of TLF said they want to create awareness about the disease, call for blood donations, stressing that September 9th is a date set aside to celebrate leukaemia patients.
“We appreciate those who have donated because a leukaemia patient needs about four or five pints of blood in a day. Our mission in TLF is to sign off one million donors in Nigeria. We want to make it possible for patients to walk into hospitals and access blood free of charge.
“A pint of blood is about #25,000, and it will relieve these patients and other blood users a great deal if Nigerians can support them through regular blood donations, maybe two or three times a year,” she said.
According to Oyedele, the major challenge of TLF has been a lack of support. “We need corporate organizations to help us, just like Fidson has done. We appeal to the government at all levels to play their roles in ensuring the welfare of the citizens, pay salaries promptly especially for the health workers, because people who come to donate blood must be healthy to be able to do that. The onus is on the government to discourage constant strike by the health workers as well as brain drain,” she said.
Babatunde Balogun, Senior Manager, at Fidson Healthcare plc, said that leukaemia is the number 13th, cancer killer disease globally in terms of prevalence and mortality.
“The awareness is low in this part of the world because symptoms are not classical and sufferers may pass through a long time before diagnoses are made, and the longer it takes to diagnose the more difficult it takes to treat. We urge the government to ensure adequate personnel to help in diagnoses and treatment.
“We should cut down on brain drain in the health sector, improve facilities for diagnoses and treatment, make drugs affordable for sufferers and support general infrastructure development in the country. The government should increase awareness for voluntary blood donations to take care of scarcity during emergencies,” Balogun said.
Andy Umeh, chairman of Agidingbi spare parts dealers association who was also a donor, urged individuals to contribute to helping humanity, stressing that the government cannot do everything.
“We can donate the blood that God has given to us as part of our contribution. It will go a long way in saving lives. We have been working with TLF for the past three years, and we have encouraged our members to be part of this programme, especially the young people,” he said.
Meanwhile the Lagos State Blood Transmission Service was on ground to provide support at the event.