Voluntary blood donation across the country is less than 40 per cent, a situation Major Oko-Bensa-Agyekum of the 37 Military Hospital blood bank has described as worrying.
This, he said, could lead to shortage at the blood banks across the country.
He said this in an interview with the Ghanaian Times at the sidelines of a free health screening and blood donation exercise at Ablekuma in the Anyaa Sowutuom Constituency.
The exercise was organised by Dromo Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, in partnership with Martin Hayford Ministries to stock the blood bank and also help residents know their health status while offering them free medications.
According to Major Oko-Bensa-Agyekum, most health facilities largely depended on family donations, which he said was unreliable and not adequate.
He stated that it was time Ghanaians willingly came out to donate, saying that “We cannot force anyone to come out and donate blood but rather the person should do that out of his or her own will.”
Major Oko-Bensa-Agyekum said since people did not willingly come to donate, the health facilities usually partner corporate organisations and non- governmental organisations to solicit blood from the public.
He said there were a lot of myths around blood donation, which were unfounded, but was quick to add that blood donation promoted good health and stimulated the production of new blood cells.
Major Oko-Bensa-Agyekum therefore called for adequate education and sensitisation on the need for voluntary blood donation by the Ministry of Health and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE).
“If the NCCE will take up the responsibility of educating Ghanaians on the need for voluntary blood donation, just as it does during elections and other events, I believe we will have a change of attitude and mind-set towards blood donation,” he said.
The president of the foundation, Naa Dromo Ollennu, said the exercise which was the fifth edition was aimed at giving back to society, adding that the foundation decided to organise blood donation exercise and free health screening every year for the community to encourage them to donate to stock the blood bank.
“Blood is a gift of life and therefore it is important to always have it available to help save lives,” she said.
Ms Ollennu said people needed to know the essence of blood donation, and that donating it freely was Godly and would help salvage situations.
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU