Editorial Comment

Editorial Comment
The Nigerian Journal of Haematology founded five years ago 22 August 2017 in Kano aims to encourage research and publishes academic papers of international standard. The diligence of its chief Editor, Prof Norah Akinola, and the body of Editors in several sub-specialties has achieved this vision. The contributors to this learned journal evidence the determination to excel even in difficult times with few grants for research. This issue has four original articles, a review article and a case report on which I have commented.

The Zaria study on red cell folate in children with sickle cell anaemia (SCA), showed high levels whether they were on folic acid supplementation or not, in crisis or in the stable state. This is welcoming and suggests that the prescription of folic acid may be unnecessary. If later confirmed that high levels of folic acid are found in local foods, then this helps the finances, but further investigations and subsequent promotion of the specific edibles around the country are needed.

Hepcidin is a regulator of iron absorption in the duodenum and of its release from macrophages. The results of this article on 120 women with pregnancy of 28 weeks or more showed half of them were anaemic with low Hepcidin.  Values six months after their delivery will be conclusive.

The investigation into elevated levels of Interleukin-18 (IL-18) in untreated HIV-1 infection also confirms its promotion of the concomitant side infections seen in HIV.  Highly Active AntiRetroviral Therapy HAART causes a fall in IL-18 levels and Viral load with a moderate fall in CD4Tlymphocytes.

The incidence of co-inherited beta-thalassaemia gene is more common in Nigeria than reported and are only accidentally diagnosed. However, problems of family relationships may arise. High Performance Liquid Chromatography HPLC clearly analysed the different haemoglobins in the specimen and help arrive at the diagnosis of beta-thalassemia co-inherited with other abnormal haemoglobins.

Generally Nigerian Blood Transfusion Services have not moved forward in this millennium. Only a few States in the Federation have established their services e.g. Lagos State.  The limiting problems outlined in the article on blood banking techniques, availability of blood for component preparation, staff training and adequate premises are still issues to contend with in 2022.

The Nigerian National Blood Transfusion Policy is an essential basic document for oversight and guidance. It has become evident that a central body starting services in states is unworkable. It is the level of medical specialization in the individual State’s clinical area that will dictate the budget for progression and sustainability for blood services and component therapy transfusion for various levels of need, while the National Blood Transfusion Policy Committee at the Federal level ensures compliance.

It is with great joy and a sense of accomplishment that this issue of the journal, Nig. J. Haematology Vol. 4 (1) is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding body the Nigerian Society of Haematology and Blood Transfusion –NSHBT.


Dame Prof. Aba Omotunde Sagoe,
DSc (hon). MB BS, PhD, Dip Immunol, FMCPath, FWACP, FNAMed.
Former SSG and HOS of Lagos State Govt.
Provost LASUCOM  16th July 2022