“A big problem” – Religious groups stop members from donating blood

by Stanley Azuakola

July 14 was World Donors Day.

In an event organized by the National Blood Transfusion Centre, Enugu, to mark the day, religious groups came under fire. They were criticized for the pressure they applied on their members, dissuading them from donating blood.

The Coordinator of the Centre, Michael Chukwu, disclosed that religious and cultural inhibitions were responsible for the low rate of blood donation in the South Eastern zone of the country.

He said that some churches in the zone outrightly banned their members from donating blood. Hence, the centre currently gets less than 200 units per month, instead of the projected 360 units.

“This religious problem is a very big thing, especially in this South East, where some clergy men would not allow us to come and sensitise the people during service to get blood.

“The culture of the people also that blood is a special thing that should not be given out; but it is the same people that rush here every day to come and access blood,” he said.

Mr. Chukwu warned that the centre might be forced to retaliate by banning those religious groups from accessing blood from it.

He also decried the lack of funds available to the centre. He cited the case of ‘Club 25’, a club set-up by the centre in some tertiary institutions in Enugu but which was regretfully ineffective due to lack of funds to sustain it.

“Club 25 is a group of youths in higher institutions who vow to donate blood until they are 25 years of age or to donate blood 25 times in their life time and to remain HIV-negative throughout their life time.

“So it is a group of youths under 25 years,” he said.

The coordinator said they were encouraged to educate their group and become blood donors so that they can spread the message on HIV and Hepatitis B.

He appealed to the media to assist the centre by creating awareness, to encourage people to donate blood.

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