National Blood Service to increase voluntary blood donation

The National Blood Service (NBS) is expected to increase its voluntary blood donation from 37 to 75 per cent by 2029.

The initiative dubbed, the National Blood Supply (NBS) strengthening programme, is aimed at increasing the proportion of voluntary blood donation received in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of NBS, Dr Justina Kordai Ansah, announced these at the19th National Blood Donor Day celebration, in Accra.

The event was under the theme: “blood donation and universal access to safe blood transfusion as a component of achieving universal health coverage”.

Dr Ansah said per the World Health Organisation (WHO) requirement, every country was expected to have one per cent of its country’s population as blood donors.

“This means that in Ghana we are expected to have about 300,000 units of blood yearly, but we have under 50 per cent, which means that we have a long way to go,” she explained.

Dr Ansah stated that the NBS would work to expand blood service infrastructure, intensify advocacy and collection of blood through voluntary unpaid blood donation, and deepen collaboration with other stakeholders to improve voluntary blood donation.

She mentioned that the zonal blood centres in Accra, Kumasi, and Takoradi continued to record much higher percentages of voluntary blood donation than the national average.

According to Dr Ansah, in 2018, the zonal centres recorded 71 per cent increase from 59 per cent in 2017, thereby stressing the need for requisite resources and support to enable the service meet its objective of 100 per cent voluntary unpaid blood donation in the country.

She said the NBS had initiated steps to upgrade hospital blood banks of selected regional hospitals into sub-zonal blood centres, to provide safe blood and blood components to other public and private hospitals within catchment zones.

Dr Ansah said the safest means for national blood supply was voluntary unpaid blood donation, and urged Ghanaians to consider blood donation as a civic responsibility.

He said Ghana was unable to reach its target because of various myths surrounding blood donation, which was partly the cause of unnecessary deaths in the country.

Dr Ansah called on Ghanaians to donate blood to save lives, saying that “you do not have to know the person before donating blood to save a life.”

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Health, Kweku Agyeman- Manu, urged the youth to become regular donors.

He pledged government’s support for NBS, to facilitate voluntary blood donation in the country, while improving the availability of safe blood, especially in hard-to-reach areas to save lives.

BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY

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