Ghana yesterday joined the rest of the world to mark World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) with a call on eligible blood donors to donate blood to bridge the country’s present demand-supply gap.

Marked on June 14 every year, the day is to raise awareness globally of the need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion.

It is also to highlight the critical contribution that voluntary unpaid blood donors make to the health delivery system.

This year’s commemoration was on the theme; “Safe blood saves lives” with the slogan “Give blood and keep the world beating”.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Blood Service (NBS), Dr Justina Ansah, in a remark at a brief event to celebrate the day, noted how young people had been at the forefront of voluntary blood donation over the years, globally.

She indicated that in Africa and Ghana, young people (less than 30 years) constituted about 75 per cent of blood donors saying, “In Ghana, blood donor recruitment drives are more effective in educational institutions and faith-based organisations where the youth make up majority of the membership.”

“I therefore wish to call on all persons who are eligible to donate blood; that is, 17 to 60 years to heed the humanitarian call to donate blood regularly to save lives and encourage friends and relatives to do same,” she appealed.

Most hospitals across the country at present are reportedly running on low blood to save patients in need of emergency care.

Data points to the fact that voluntary blood donation dropped from 33 per cent in 2019 to 17 per cent by end of 2020 partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, Dr Ansah said the Service had put in place adequate precautionary measures to prevent spread of the virus in its blood donation exercises and advised other organisations and institutions to do same to encourage more people to donate blood.

Moreover, the CEO said the NBS would leverage on digital technology, moving forward, to grow its voluntary blood donor base and improve availability of safe blood for transfusion in the country.

“Currently, the blood donation tracker app developed by the Kwaaba Foundation in collaboration with the NBS with support of the Ghana Education Service (GES) enables us to track blood donations by educational institutions.

The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, in a speech read on his behalf announced that the NBS had attained agency status under the Ministry of Health (MoH).

“The Ministry has been able to secure the needed Legal Backing for the Agency Status of the National Blood Service, this has subsequently resulted in the passing of the National Blood Service Bill by the Parliament of Ghana,” he said.

Country Representative for the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Francis Kasolo also said “The average blood donation rate dropped by 17 per cent and the frequency of blood drives reduced by 25 per cent, demand for blood also decreased by 13 per cent which has suspended routine of surgeries in some countries and fewer people seeking care in health facilities.”

Dr Kasolo urged the media to help whip up interest in blood donation to save lives.

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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