Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, the Director-General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), has assured the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) of the active engagement of corps members in the nationwide safe blood donation advocacy.
The director-general gave the assurance when Dr Omale Joseph, the NBSC National Coordinator, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
The national coordinator of the NBSC visited the NYSC to request for the mobilisation of corps members nationwide.
This is in the bid to assist in the sensitisation of Nigerians on the importance of donating safe blood.
Ibrahim assured the NBSC of the support and cooperation of the NYSC, stating that, “the service can begin its engagement with the set of corps members who are set to be mobilised for the service year in October 2021.
“As a proactive agency of the Federal Government, the NYSC since its last meeting with the NBTS in 2020, has commenced public sensitisation on safe blood donation.
“The next mobilisation of corps members will take place in October. The scheme will immediately capture your organisation as one of the organisations that will educate and sensitise corps members during the orientation course.
“You will go to the various camps nationwide to sensitise them and I am sure that corps members will be ready to donate and also be agents of the commission in its advocacy.”
The NYSC director-general congratulated the national coordinator on his elevation to the Director-General of the commission.
Earlier, the NBSC boss said: “The commission wished to engage corps members due to the presence of the NYSC in all states, cities and rural areas of the country.
“Engaging corps members as agents in its advocacy programme will expand the reach of the commission’s education and sensitisation.
“This would also bolster the efforts to further improve the level of blood donation across the country,” he added.
The national coordinator urged the NYSC to finalise the pending Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both organisations to strengthen the partnership that has begun.
“During our last visit to the NYSC, we agreed that there will be a collaborative MoU between the commission and the NYSC, because the core function of our agency is sensitisation.
“NYSC is a national body that is located in cities, towns and rural areas. This means that when we work with the NYSC, we can improve our capacity to carry out advocacy across the country.
“We need sensitisation and advocacy to get to our clients and all Nigerians on the importance of donating blood to save lives. This is where the NYSC comes in.
“We need the advocacy to educate the people on not just how to donate blood, but how to donate safe and quality blood.
“This is even though blood is good for us, it can also be hazardous if not properly screened to make it safe,” Joseph explained.
The national coordinator said that to engage corps members, the commission would first carry out health talks and sensitization in NYSC camps during the orientation courses to encourage them to donate blood.
He said that the engagement will also include co-opting corps members as the commission’s sensitisation agents in the communities they will be posted to on primary assignment.
Joseph said that the 2021 Act guiding the activities of the commission has given it the mandate to regulate, coordinate, ensure the provision of blood and blood products for those that need it in Nigeria.
Joseph stated that: “These three key mandates will enable the commission to properly regulate those involved in the blood business.
“Thus is by ensuring they always carry out the appropriate steps needed in providing safe blood.
“Blood can be a business if you follow the rules. If the commission is properly funded and supported, it can become a revenue-generating organisation for Nigeria, as well as meeting the blood needs of Nigerians.
“This is why the commission is planning to have the one million Safe Blood Initiative which will lead to a national reserve.
“For us to have a national reserve means blood will be housed in the six geo-political zones of the country.
“It will also be housed in big cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. This will enable easy access to blood.”