Experts have called for increased focus on research and diagnosis to reduce the burden of blood disorders, like sickle cell anaemia, and mitigating their impact on patients. Prof Lawal Bilbis, Vice-Chancellor of Federal University, Birnin-Kebbi said optimized research should particular assess the prevalence of blood disorders, monitor health status and quality of life of people living with them, and quantify their impact of the healthcare system.

Speaking at the third Haematology and Blood Disorder conference–a partnership with the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria–in Abuja, Bilbis said prevalence of blood disorders was increasing “mainly due to lack of awareness of the causes and preventive measures of the diseases.”

He said research should identify preventable causes of health problems among people living with blood disorders and investigative affordable screening and diagnosis as well as methods of managing the disorders using locally sourced materials. “The optimization of research and diagnosis of blood disorders in Nigeria is long overdue,” said Bilbis. “The optimization should focus on the need to reduce the burden of the diseases and address specific needs of people with the disorders.”

Prof Erhabor Osaro said the conference would help share evidence-based practices to help better understand blood disorders and their complications. That would ensure prevention programmes are developed, implemented and evaluated by all professionals involved in diagnosing and managing blood disorders, he said. Vice-chancellor of University of Abuja, Prof Michael Adikwu, the MLSCN must maintain its major role in preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic services across all levels of healthcare. In particular, Adikwu cited strong regulatory control of laboratory processes, validation of reagents used in lab diagnosis, and accreditation of labs.

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