by Damilola Agekameh
The Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has said the state government will not appeal the ruling that banned state-owned hospitals from demanding compulsory blood donation from husbands of pregnant women seeking antenatal and maternity services.
He, however, warned that expectant mothers, accident victims and other persons who may need a blood transfusion in the course of treatment may suffer from the acute blood shortage that the ruling may eventually cause.
An Ikeja High Court in a judgment on Monday by Justice Raliat Adebiyi declared the practice as “arbitrary, unfair and a violation of human rights as enshrined in Section 38(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
The court subsequently ordered government hospitals in the state to stop demanding compulsory blood donations from husbands of pregnant women seeking antenatal and maternity services.
It was reported that: Corruption, anti-poor policies worsen acute blood shortages at Lagos hospitals.
But the judgment was delivered following a fundamental human rights suit filed by the trustees of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project.
Reacting to the judgment, Abayomi said the state government had banned compulsory blood donations in all its hospitals before the court judgment on Monday.
The commissioner said, “The judgment is in line with the already existing Ministry of Health policy on elimination of compulsory pre-antenatal registration blood donation via circular No: LSMH 1638/VOL T/19, dated 2nd of April, 2019 and with the World Health Organisation’s mandate of having 100 percent voluntary blood donation by 2020.
“Following this policy, voluntary blood donation had increased by 22 percent. The state government will not appeal the judgment.”
Commenting on the implication of the judgment, Abayomi, however, warned, “There will be reduced availability of blood to individuals if actions to increase voluntary blood donation are not intensified.”
Going forward, the commissioner said, there were already existing measures which were being taken by the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service to meet up with the shortfall of blood for transfusion in the state.