JICA hands over safe blood project to National Blood Service

The Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) on Friday handed over a project implemented to reduce the transfusion of blood transmitted infections and strengthen safe blood supply in Ghana.

The project which was implemented in Ghana for 18 months by JICA and Terumo Corporation, with the support of the National Blood Service Ghana and other stake holders used a Japanese technology to create an infrastructure for haemovigilance.

The haemovigilance allows for a combination of a routine usage of pathogen reduction system technology and a mirasole whole blood system to promote blood safety.

It was implemented at the Korle Bu and the Komfo Anokye Teaching hospitals to provide safer blood for patients.

Mr. Nana Kwabena Agyei Mensah, Chief Director of the Ministry of Health (MOH), said at the handing over ceremony in Accra, that the ministry would continue to expand the use of the mirasol pathogen reduction technology and the haemovigilance project from where it ended.

The Health Ministry was according to him, committed to purchasing  20,000 dollar worth of blood disposables by the end of this year and would in 2019, expand the programme to include the Northern zonal blood centre in Tamale.

He stated that a budget of between 300,000 and 400,000 dollars per year would be allocated to the programme for the next five years to purchase equipment, disposables and provide maintenance for the installed equipment to support the sustainability of the project.

“The ministry of health is committed to moving the program forward while championing the use of technologies for improving health services accesses the country,” he said.

Mr. Mensah appealed to the public to support voluntary blood donation and donate more blood to enable the National Blood Service to achieve 100 per cent voluntary unpaid donations by the end of 2020.

Mr.Hirofumi Hoshi, Chief Representative of the JICA in Ghana said the provision of safe blood was very crucial to attaining Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and drastically reducing maternal mortality and morbidities.

He said the project implemented jointly with the Terumo Corporation would reduce the incidence of transfusion-transmitted malaria, AIDS and other infectious diseases.

Dr. Justina Kordai Ansah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Blood Service said the implementation of the project follows an African investigation of the mirasol system which was completed in Kumasi in 2104.

Dr. Daniel Asare, CEO of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital noted that the project did not only make blood  safer for patients, but to also strengthen haemovigilance in selected wards at the Korle- Bu teaching hospital.

The project according to him established a robust system in which diverse reactions during or after blood transfusions   was recorded to be entered into a database for analysis to learn how to avoid future occurrences.

He said the project also provided a capacity building opportunity for some doctors and nurses of the hospital to be trained on identifying managing and reporting adverse transfusion reactions.

By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey and David Takyi                  

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