The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has called on Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to immediately obey Monday’s court judgment ordering all hospitals in the state to stop the practice of mandating husbands to donate blood as a condition for their pregnant wives to access ante-natal care.
The judgment was delivered by Justice Raliat Adebiyi of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, who described the practice as “unconscionable, arbitrary, unfair and a violation of Section 38(1) of the 1999 Constitution,” which guarantees citizens’ right to life”.
In a statement on Tuesday by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, SERAP hailed the judgment, saying if obeyed, it would inch Nigeria closer to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
It, therefore, urged Sanwo-Olu to use his leadership position to “instruct the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, to immediately, fully and effectively enforce the judgment stopping all Lagos hospitals and health facilities from demanding compulsory blood donations from any patients or their relatives as a precondition for medical attention either in antenatal and maternal or any other health services.
“The enforcement of the judgment will also show Lagos State as a champion of the SDGs and be entirely consistent with international standards and best practices, including those developed by the World Health Organisation, which recognise that the safest blood donors are voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors. The WHO has, in fact, recommended that no coercion should be brought to bear upon the donor to donate.
“The effective enforcement of the judgment will also improve maternal health, comply with WHO’s policy to improve the availability and use of safe blood to save the lives of women during and after childbirth, as well as ensure universal access to safe blood transfusion, particularly for patients that are vulnerable to blood shortages and to HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C infections, in support of the SDGs.
“We look forward to working with you, Professor Abayomi and the Lagos State Ministry of Health, in the efforts to enforce and implement the judgment. We would be happy to provide further information or to discuss any of these issues in more detail with you.”