A volunteer donating blood
The National Blood Service (NBS) has recorded a sharp decline in the number of voluntary blood donations within the past nine months.
According to data released by the NBS, voluntary blood donations dropped by almost 55 per cent from 46,446 units collected from January to September 2019 to 20,841 units over the same period in 2020.
Also, total units of blood collected nationwide declined by 15.2 per cent from 135,257 collected within January to September 2019 to 114,709 for the same period this year.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NBS, Dr. Justina Kordai Ansah, who made the revelation, said the Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly affected blood donation and related services nationwide.
Dr. Ansah stated that there was currently an acute shortage of blood and components in health facilities as a result of the imposition of restrictions on public gathering which led to the cancellation of scheduled mass blood drives nation.
“Meanwhile, the need for blood to save and improve the lives of patients who require transfusion therapy as part of the clinical management of their conditions remain largely unchanged. People need blood all the time even during pandemics such as Covid-19,” she added.
Dr. Ansah was speaking at the 20th National Blood Donor Day celebration held under the theme ‘Safe Blood Saves Lives’ with the slogan ‘Give Blood and make the world a healthier place’.
She said the implication was dire on health outcomes as patients who may require blood during emergencies may not recover from their conditions indicating that best practices require that patients receive their respective blood type when the need for transfusion arises.
“The NBS hereby reiterate its appeal to eligible blood donors between 17 to 60 years to visit our blood collection centers to donate blood to save lives and improve the quality of life of patients with a variety of conditions,” she said.
The MBS CEO further indicated that in observing the Covid-19 preventive measures, an appointment system has been introduced to ensure strict adherence to social distancing and other public health protocols at the blood collection sites.
“Let me assure our cherished voluntary donors that adequate precautionary measures have been put in place to prevent Coronavirus spread. To the recipients of donated blood, we can also assure you that while there is no demonstrated transmission of Covid-19 through blood and components, adequate measures are in place to contain any potential risk of Covid-19 infection through transfusion,” she added.
The NBS in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Accra and the Rotary Club of Accra-Ridge awarded individuals and institutions who in diverse ways contributed to voluntary blood donation.
Corporate organizations including MTN Ghana, Melcom Group of Companies, the Food and Drugs Authority, the Multimedia Group and Graphic Communications Group were recognized for their efforts in driving voluntary blood donation.
The national best blood donor award went to Ibrahim Taufik Gibril for donating a total 70 units of blood. He was followed by Solomon Arthur who gave a total of 61 units and Nicholas Tetteh who gave 60 units of blood.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri