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Offering a role model to their counterparts worldwide, Nigeria's Muslim medical students have launched an initiative which encourages people, especially the youths, to freely donate blood, the idea lauded as an "altruistic" endeavour that is "worthy of emulation."
The objective of the initiative is:
"to make blood available for those who need blood within the Lagos environ," Abudu Kabirat, a member of the Central Planning Committee of the Islam Propagation Week, stated.
"We do not sell the blood. We give it to the hospitals. This year we are collaborating with Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service. We did it last year and it is part of our annual Islam Propagation Week"
"The psychological benefit you receive from knowing you’re helping others is just as helpful as the physical health benefit," Kabirat addeed.
Speaking exclusively on the program, Obalola Musab Adebayo, the President of the Muslim medical students, said it is a way of showcasing the humanitarian part of Islam as givers of glad tidings to the humanity.
"The blood donation program, which is a part of our Islam Propagation Week, is to spread the message of Islam to the community in the sense that we want to use the avenue to show the community the humanitarian aspect of Islam," he said.
As Muslims and as Nigerians we have a role to play in saving lives especially as medical students because a pint of blood can save more than three lives when you separate the components of the blood. And we have a lot of cases in the hospital whereby people die just because they need pints of blood."
"So this is the little we can do to encourage people to donate blood. Part of the benefits is to also make people see the importance of donating blood as a lifestyle. It is something that should be done routinely.
"It is like a form of exercise in the internal body, so we gather people and encourage them to do this meritorious act. As Muslims, we should always pioneer things like this to let the people know the beauty of Islam and end the stereotypes. We are supposed to serve humanity and show the beauty of Islam to the world community." He said.
Altruistic Youth Blood agency lauded the 'altruistic' project of Muslim medical students, urging them to make it more frequent.
"It is a good thing that they are donating blood as part of their MSSN activities. We have always encouraged the youth to participate in such altruistic activities such as voluntary blood donation whereby they just donate blood to people without necessarily knowing them and in the process saving their lives," Dr Modupe Olaiya, executive secretary of the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service which is partnering with the Muslim students, said.
She called the blood donation initiative an "altruistic" endeavor that is "worthy of emulation."
"We also organize youths at our own end to be voluntary donors and usually youths are the ones who respond most to such calls. Most elderly people who are beyond 40 or 50 years will give you excuses. But the young ones are coming up to do this on their own," Olaiya said.
"This is worthy of emulation for other youths who are not aware of it. We encourage them not to make it a yearly affair; they should at least do it three or four times in a year so that it would make more meaning and make blood supply to be adequate. We encourage people to donate many times in a year, it makes blood available for those who need it."
According to the expert, blood donation comes with several benefits including sense of fulfilment.
"The advantages of such altruistic act include self-satisfaction, they also have the opportunity of checking themselves because in the course of the test (before you donate blood) they may discover that they have one ailment or the other and then we advise them medically to go and address it. But (overall) the idea that you are saving life is very important. We believe God reward those who do good to others," she stated.
Meanwhile, Adebayo said the 2014 edition of the IPW got 448 pints of blood which were given to the appropriate public agencies for donation to those who needed blood.
"It is currently once in a year thing during the Islam Propagation Week. We try to mobilize students and other people who are interested in donating. Last year, we set a record of donating about 448 pints of blood. This year we hope to get 700 pints of blood inshaAllah," he added.
Adewoyin Olalekan, a medical student and donor, said the initiative is a practical step in helping to save people in danger.
"Well it's actually a great...feeling knowing that I will have a chance of saving three lives with just one pint of my blood. I couldn't have requested for more from Allah, the life saver! Alhamdulilah for the opportunity that this is giving me," he added.
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