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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 6-12

COVID-19 impact on Nigeria's national blood service commission - Lessons for Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)

Department of Planning, Research and Statistics, National Blood Service Commission Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Adaeze Chidinma Oreh
Department of Planning, Research and Statistics, National Blood Service Commission, 39, Abidjan Street, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_720_21

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Background: In February 2020, Nigeria officially announced its first case of COVID-19. As numbers rose, government-led non-pharmaceutical interventions such as lockdowns, curfews, restrictions on mass gatherings and other physical distancing measures ensued, negatively affecting blood donor mobilisation activities. Objectives: We aimed to assess the blood service activities across 17 National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) centres in Nigeria, including number of blood donations, mobile blood drives, blood units screened, screening outcomes, number of hospitals NBSC provided services to and number of blood units discarded over the study period. Materials and Methods: A retrospective descriptive study was conducted to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on blood services in 17 NBSC centres in Nigeria, comparing from January–December 2019 (pre-COVID-19) to January–December 2020 (peri-COVID-19). Results: Mobile blood donation drives declined by 100% in the first 2 months following government-imposed lockdowns, the number of all blood donations and voluntary blood donations declined by 9.8%. The number of blood units screened declined by 11.9%, while the number of blood units that screened positive for transfusion-transmissible infections reduced by 28.6%. Discarded blood units reduced by 3.1%, while a 32.6% increase was observed in the number of hospitals that NBSC issued blood for transfusion. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic affected NBSC operations in Nigeria. However, by strengthening hospital linkages and employing innovative strategies, NBSC ensured continuity of operations, thereby significantly managing the challenges of COVID-19 to voluntary blood donor recruitment and the availability of safe blood for transfusion.

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