The campaign for voluntary unpaid blood donation seems to be getting some results with blood centers across the country recording much higher percentages of free blood than the national average.
The three zonal blood centers: Accra, Kumasi and Tamale, together recorded a marginal increase from 36 per cent in 2017 to 37 per cent in 2018.
Over the same period, the percentage of voluntary blood donations in the three zonal blood centers increased significantly from 59 per cent to 71 per cent.
“This support the fact that with the requisite resources and support, the National Blood Service will be able to meet its objective of collecting 100 % of blood from voluntary unpaid blood donors,” said Dr. Justina Kordai Ansah, Chief Executive Officer, National Blood Service (NBS).
Speaking at the 19th National Blood Donor Day marked on November 25, each year, Dr. Ansah said the Service was committed to establishing a functional national blood supply system that relies on regular blood donations by voluntary unpaid donors.
The day is also used to kick start activities for the national blood donation campaign for the ensuing year and to publicly acknowledge and appreciate voluntary unpaid blood donors and other stakeholders who have showed commitment to saving the lives of patients requiring blood transfusion therapy across the country.
Dr. Ansah said the demographic and financial access to adequate and safe blood and blood products remain critical for many individuals and communities.
She further observed that to address the issue of financial access to safe blood and blood components, the National Health Insurance Scheme must take up the processing fees by patients or their relative.
“This we believe will motivate more people to donate blood voluntarily to meet the annual national blood requirement,” she added.
First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Osei-Owusu, addressing the gathering on behalf of the Health Minster, said blood transfusion has become a major component of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and must therefore be seen as such.
“It is simply no longer acceptable that any woman or man should die from cases that are completely treatable because of non-availability of blood,” he said.
He said although there are challenges regarding voluntary blood donation, other countries have made progress by achieving 100 per cent voluntary blood donation.
Mr. Osei-Owusu therefore charged all Ghanaians particularly the youth to commit themselves to become voluntary blood donors.
The ceremony organized under the patronage of Rotary Clubs of Accra and Accra-Ridge saw individuals, businesses and educational institutions being awarded prizes for their contribution towards voluntary blood donation.
Obed Nana Addo was adjudged the National best blood donor for donating 58 pints of blood.
Daniel Adotei with 57 pints was second national best blood donor and Robert Ayivor with 54 pints was third national best blood donor.
Faith based institutions like the Catholic Arch Diocese of Accra, International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) and the Presbyterian Church were recognized for their contributions.
Other organizations honored included Sliver Star Automobile, Kaysens Group of Companies, MTN Ghana Foundation, Food and Drugs Authority as well as the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra Technical University, Ada Secondary Technical School, Achimota School, and Osudoku Senior High School.
The Rotary Clubs of Accra and Accra-Ridge pledged their continuous support to the voluntary blood donation campaign.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri