with World Blood Donor Day Initiative
Oando PLC recently commemorated World Blood Donor Day via a company led blood donation drive which enabled employees donate blood to save lives. The blood drive was organised in partnership with LifeBank, an e-health company connecting blood banks with hospitals in Nigeria, in a bid to bridge the blood shortage gap in Nigeria.
Among Nigerians, voluntary blood donation is a strange concept due to several erroneous beliefs, suspicions and misconceptions. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) postpartum haemorrhaging is the leading cause of maternal mortality, accounting for over 27 per cent of all maternal deaths in Nigeria.
Bleeding as a result of traffic accidents is the leading cause of deaths amongst young and middle aged Nigerians and it is estimated that of the 20,000 children that die daily in Nigeria, 30 per cent of these are as a result of anaemia.
Typically, blood donation only occurs on an emergency basis. In the vast majority of cases a patient in need of a blood transfusion must depend on relatives to either donate blood or source from private laboratories or blood banks. They may also enlist the services of commercial blood donors, popularly known as â€œblood toutsâ€.
The Ministry of Health has reported that donation practices in Nigeria are 10 per cent voluntary donors, 60 per cent commercial donors and 30 per cent will only give blood to relatives in need.
Several studies have shown that this reluctance to donate blood is fuelled by religious, spiritual and superstitious beliefs.
Every 4th of June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The day, established in 2004, serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products, and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gifts of blood.
Oando showed support of the United Nationâ€™s initiative via an employee blood drive themed â€˜Every Donor is a Heroâ€™. The companyâ€™s actions were aimed at dispelling myths and encouraging other companies to follow suit to save the lives of so many in need.
Speaking on the blood drive, General Manager Operations Integrity, Oando Energy Resources, Kayode Boladale, said: â€œWe at Oando are firm believers in being your brother & sisterâ€™s keeper. Over 26,000 Nigerian adults and 20,000 children under the age of 5 lose their lives annually due to a shortage of blood and one in four patients admitted in the hospital needs blood. These figures are devastating, particularly because the need is for people to give what they already have in abundance.
â€œBlood banks in Nigeria are at 10 per cent capacity so we have a mandate to play our part in bridging this gap. A lot of people also donâ€™t realise that blood donations are also beneficial to the donor; it helps balance iron levels and reduces the risk of heart attacks. In other words, not only are you saving lives, you are also helping yourself too. This education and awareness is a necessity to further support bridging this gapâ€.
Nigeria requires up to 1.8 million units of blood annually to meet up with the needs of its population of over 180 million people. However experts say, Nigeriaâ€™s National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) is collecting about 500,000 pints of blood annually – a shortfall of nearly 75 per cent. This is not just a problem for Nigeria as Africa collects less blood than any other region in the world.
Over half Africaâ€™s population, requires more than 26 million donations annually but is only able to raise 5.6 million blood donations annually. Within Africa, Nigeria has one of the lowest voluntary blood donors, which is the widely recognised basis for safe and sufficient national blood supplies.
Speaking on their partnership with Oando PLC, Shalom Udechukwu, LifeBank Community Lead said â€œWe are in the business of saving lives, so we are extremely grateful for an opportunity to partner with Oando PLC and their fantastic staff on this corporate social responsibility initiative.â€
LifeBank works closely with hospitals, doctors and individuals to make blood, oxygen, platelets, and vaccines available to those in need. This initiative is in line with Oandoâ€™s Corporate Social Responsibility to give back to the communities it operates in.
Speaking on the initiative an Oando employee said: â€œI was happy to be a part of this great initiative, I have considered giving blood before but for one reason or the other never got round to it. By bringing the initiative to us I had no excuse but to take part. I am proud to work in a company that gives us the opportunity to give back in this way.â€
The initiative is the third commendable philanthropy initiative embarked on by Oando employees this year. In celebration of February the month of love, Oando employees, donated millions of Naira to purchase educations supplies for the pupils of the three public primary schools that make up the Gbagada Schools Complex.
The employees went on to visit the schools to present the pupils with the much needed school supplies such as educational books to encourage learning and reading, school bags, school furniture, raincoats in preparation for the rainy season, and other items to aid educational development; infrastructural renovation was also carried out.
Earlier in June, Oando employees led a clean-up exercise of Cowrie Creek, Ozumba Mbadiwe, in Lagos State commemorating the 2018 World Environment Day themed â€˜Beat Plastic Pollutionâ€™.
World Environment Day is an initiative by the United Nations (UN) to encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment.
It is seen as the â€œpeopleâ€™s dayâ€ for doing something to take care of the Earth.
The waterway clean up exercise is one of the many ways Oando PLC is actively supporting implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources; and ensure access to water and sanitation for all.
The company reinforces the benefits of giving back through its employees, and encourages these acts to ultimately enrich the nation and Nigerians at large. Oando PLC is proof that when companies and employees are aligned good things can be achieved.
The hope is that companies in Nigeria emulate Oandoâ€™s strategy on employee philanthropy to power initiatives that positively impact humanity.