Blood! Availability of safe blood means life for countless pregnant women and young children in Nigeria.We collect an estimate of 25,000 pints of blood annually even though we need 2 million pints…
Every year Nigerian loses 59,000 women to predictable and easily prevented deaths. Each week, 1,131 women die in childbirth. Since my last column, 1,131 Nigerian families have lost mothers, friends, sisters and daughters to pregnancy. Every week more children are forced to grow up without mothers, and are subjected to the difficulties that entails. As an example, these children are more likely to die before their fifth birthday. The horror of maternal mortality affects the family, the community and our country as a whole and its time we find sustainable solutions to this horror.
Suppose there is one thing any Nigerian could do to help save the lives of 26,000 Nigerian women annually or 500 every week. Suppose this does not require that you give money or put yourself in danger. Imagine that you only have to do this thing only three times every year to get the result of saving 500 women a week. What if you are told that this action will only take about an hour of your time every 3 months? Suppose this action actually only requires 1% of Nigerians to do the very same thing for an hour every 3 months and we can collectively reduce maternal mortality by 44%. Would you do it?
Blood! Availability of safe blood means life for countless pregnant women and young children in Nigeria. Ensuring that clean safe blood is available in each hospital can change everything. We collect an estimate of 25,000 pints of blood annually even though we need 2 million pints only because Nigerians hardly donate blood voluntarily. Those who do donate blood belong to a generation that is fast disappearing. Also, the little blood collected are not properly screened or distributed so many Nigerian lives are lost or severely handicapped because of this. There are many reasons why Nigerians rarely donate blood voluntarily. Some say they are busy, they don’t know how or where to donate blood. Some people are simply scared to donate blood and so on. These are all valid reasons and the health system needs to find ways of making it easier for people to be heroes and help them save countless lives by becoming life long blood donors.
I have the opportunity to lead an organization doing just that. One Percent Project aims to make blood accessible to every citizen of our country, especially pregnant women and children, when they need it. One Percent Project is committed to providing safe, fast, and reliable blood around the country. The organization in invested in building a movement of Nigerians committed to public service by becoming regular, unpaid blood donors for the rest of their lives.
To this end, we have built a map system of all blood donation centers in the country where interested donors can find institutions close to them. Whether you live in Lagos, or Maiduguri or Aba, you can go HERE and find out where you can donate blood in your community. All you have to do is type the name of your city in the search box and the mapping system will give you the map and the addresses of the nearest hospitals, NBTS Centers, and Laboratories where you can donate blood. Almost anyone between the ages of 17 and 65 can become a new blood donor. And those who are regular donors can continue to donate as long as they are in good health.
I firmly believe that this is the one thing that we can do to change our country. Like my friend said in his piece here, ‘Life is short, make yours count. Will you help save lives? Will you join the blood donation movement?’ For more information, please see the organization’s website at http://www.foronepercent.org and follow us on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/foronepercent.