World Blood Donor Day 2017: Youth who save lives in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria By Dr. Nafisa Abdu

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Eight months pregnant, 21-year-old Suwaiba Isah got seriously ill and was taken to Yusuf Dan Tsoho Specialist hospital in Kaduna. Suwaiba was suffering from Anaemia in pregnancy, and the doctor requested for an urgent transfusion. The relatives of Suwaiba called Mal. Abubakar, a known blood donor and within hours, Suwaibar received the life-saving transfusion.

Mal. Abubakar became a blood donor and male motivator after attending peer sessions on RMNCH at the “majalisa’, where young men gather to relax and while away time. They listen to a religious leader Mal. Abubakar Sani, who does not only gives sermons on maternal and child health but encourages men, especially young men, to donate blood:  “I donate blood as an act of charity to be rewarded by my creator.” Volunteers can sign up as donors and form blood donor groups.

In Kaduna, patients in need of blood transfusion are faced with two problems: high cost and serious delay. To avoid these delays, the Maternal Newborn and Child Health Programme, MNCH2 has supported the formation of the donor groups. The contacts of donors are shared both with facilities and communities. In the case of emergencies, such as in Suwaiba’s pregnancy, they respond swiftly by and for free.

The District Head, Alh. Sadiq Abubakar, is committed to support the MNCH2 in the efforts to reduce the cost of blood transfusion and avoiding delays.  A blood donor himself he sees this as “my responsibility to save the life of my people and lead by example. I donate blood to motivate youths to do to the same and stop the shortage of blood in facilities”

Suwaiba recovered and delivered a baby girl. 

Nafisa Abdu, MD is a Physician and Programme Officer for the DFID-funded Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Program (MNCH2) in Nigeria

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