The Blood Safety Programme Manager, Institute of Human Virology, Nigerians (IHVN), Abdullahi Abubakar, says regular blood donation improves body fitness and lowers calories. Abubakar explained at a blood donation drive in Abuja on Tuesday to mark World Blood Donor Day that donating one pint of blood (450 ml) removes 650 calories from the donor’s body. Abubakar said the theme for the celebration, ”blood donation as an action of solidarity”, had the slogan ”Be there for someone else.” He said that transfusion of blood helps save millions of lives every year and put a natural smile on the face of blood receiver. According to him, blood donation can help patients suffering from life-threatening health conditions to live longer with higher quality of life. He also said that blood donation had an essential life-saving role in maternal and child care and during emergency response to man-made and natural disasters. Abubakar said that blood donation enhanced the production of new blood cells, adding: “When blood is withdrawn, the donor’s body immediately begins to replenish the lost blood within 24 hours of donation. “All of the red blood cells the donor loses during donation are completely replaced within one month to two months.” He added that the best way to ensure adequate safe blood supply for an effective health system was through regular donations by voluntary and unpaid blood donors. Fawehinmi Akindele, Safety and Security Officer, IHVN, said that there was no pain in donating blood rather there was more gain. ”I have been donating blood for 22 years now and I don’t regret it, I donate every three months and am glad my blood has been saving lives. ”I used to suffer high blood pressure but I realised that each time I donate blood, my blood pressure reduces to normal, so donating blood reduces my blood pressure tremendously,” he said. Akindele called on Nigerians to use this opportunity to donate blood as no one knew whose life the blood would save. Another donor, Ezeibe Ikechukwu, said that he had peace each time he donated blood. Ikechukwu said that blood was sacred and using it to safe life was priceless. ”I will do this over and over again because the purpose is to help someone who is dying,” he said. Jane Akubuiro, Donor Care Manager, National Blood Transfusion Service, urged Nigerians with no health challenge to come out and donate blood to save lives.