MOH to support the National Blood Service address challenges

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has pledged to support the National Blood Service (NBS) to address the challenges affecting its operations.

Dr Ignatius Awinibuno, Director of Allied Health, MOH, said being aware of the critical problems affecting the service, the Ministry was prepared to mobilise national and global efforts in strengthening and sustaining blood supply programmes in the country.

Dr. Awinibuno made the pledge at a ceremony to commemorate World Blood Donor Day in Accra on the theme: ‘Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often.’

The event is to recognise and celebrate the effort of blood donors in saving lives in the country, particularly, voluntary donors.

The Director of Allied Health said blood was an essential aspect in the management and treatment of diseases, adding that the demand for blood continued to grow faster than supply, hence, the need for all to donate to save a life.

He said: ‘there is no way we can achieve targets for the sustainable development goals and universal health coverage without having timely accessible blood.’

Dr Francis Kasolo, Country Representative to Ghana, World Health Organisation (WHO), expressed worry as Ghana’s donation rate stood at 5.8, falling short of the country’s target of 10 donations per 1000 people.

He said despite the significant progress made, many countries, including Ghana still faced the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while ensuring its quality and safety.

He urged the Government and its stakeholders to build a sustainable and resilient national blood systems infrastructure to increase the collection of blood from voluntary donors.

Dr. Hannah Ayettey, Senior Specialist, Radiation and Clinical Oncologist at Korle- Bu Teaching Hospital, told the GNA that the significant shortage in the country was worrying.

She said: ‘ I lost a child years ago as a House Officer, because that particular type of blood needed was not available in the hospital, so we had to go round the major hospitals in Accra but unfortunately none of them had that type, so it is a major problem.’

She said the theme for the event would go a long way to encourage people to donate blood to save lives. She noted that with the 5.8 collection rate of blood in the country, ‘we are nowhere near and need to actively do more with the support from stakeholders to create awareness.’

Dr Shirley Owusu-Ofori, Chief Executive Officer, National Blood Service, said the Service and the Ministry needed the concerted efforts of the media, Civil Society Organisations and Faith-Based Organisations to support the drive.

‘ I am glad to state that we have made significant progress with our engagement so far with our stakeholders though a lot more work is needed to make desirable impact,’ she added.

Madam Noeline Kumor, a 45th time blood donor, told the GNA that she was happy to be part of a lifesaving mission in the country, indicating that she was always motivated to donate blood due to its health benefits.

The NBS in conjunction with the Global Blood Fund (a United Kingdom Charity) as part of this year’s blood donor day celebration launched a story contest dubbed: ‘ how blood has touched my life’.

The contest is to enable individuals share captivating stories accompanied by pictures and videos about how blood has touched their lives.

The contest which ends on the August 31, 2023, would attract prizes for first three winners.

Source: Ghana News Agency