National Blood donation declining

The National Blood Service (NBS) received a total of 10,200,000 units of voluntary blood donations across the country last year representing 34 per cent of the population as compared to 11,100,000 (37 per cent) collected in 2018.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Blood Service (NBS), Dr Justina K. Ansah said this yesterday in Accra at the Annual Performance Review (APR) of the Service.

She said at the three zonal centres, the NBS received 15,900,000 units of voluntary blood donations representing 53 per cent for 2019 as compared to 20,100,000 units indicating 67 per cent received the previous year.

The APR which is under the theme “repeat voluntary unpaid blood donation: Key to self-sufficiency in blood supply,” was aimed at reviewing the status of blood services in Ghana and to adopt specific corporate objectives for the service for year 2020.

 It brought together stakeholders from the Ministry of Health, health service providers, regulatory agencies and National Blood Donors Association of Ghana (NABDAG) to deliberate on the collection, processing, distribution and utilisation of blood and blood products in 2019.

The APR would afford  stakeholders the opportunity  to  critically  examine  the operations  of the NBS in achieving its mandate of ensuring  a safe and adequate supply of blood  and blood components  to patients who  require  blood transfusion as part of their clinical management.

According to Dr Ansah, the target  for  both nationwide voluntary  unpaid  blood donations  and  the  three  zonal blood  centres  were 50  per cent and 70 per cent respectively.

For 2019, she said the zipline drone delivered 421 units of blood to 12 facilities from April to December in the Eastern Region while it supplied 260 units of blood and blood components from October to December in 2019.

She said the service was challenged with inadequate numbers and proportion of voluntary unpaid blood donors, explaining that there was over-reliance on family replacement donors and misconceptions about blood donations.

 The CEO said  the  delay in the passage of the NBS bill which had been submitted  to cabinet  by the sector  ministry had  adversely  affected  coordination of blood  services  nationwide, including  collection,  testing, processing and distribution.

 Dr Ansah said the inadequate numbers of blood donor recruiters nationwide, and high attrition rate was a challenge to the service.

In order to address these challenges, Dr Ansah said, the service would step up its advocacy for 100 per cent voluntary unpaid blood donations and form hospital-independent fixed blood collection teams.

She said the service would embark on an extensive capacity building to enhance operations of the service and recruit additional staff while motivating existing staff to promote staff retention.

She called for the passage of the NBS bill to give legal backing to the agency status of the blood service.

The Deputy Minister of  Health  Mrs  Tina  Mensah  assured of  government’s  commitment  in providing  the necessary logistics  for the  smooth  running of NBS.

She  urged the  Service to  avoid  acts that would mar its  image  adding  “the ministry will support  you to achieve  your  mandate.”

BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU

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