The Ghana National Blood Service (GNBS) has made a passionate appeal to Ghanaians to accept voluntary blood donation as a civic responsibility.
That, the GNBS said, indicated that four out of every 10 blood donations were from voluntary unpaid donors, while 36 per cent of the 40 per cent were regular blood donors.
The remaining four per cent was from family replacement donors, it said, adding that that was a hidden paid system that compromised the adequacy and safety of national blood supplies.
Honouring blood donors
The Chief Executive Officer of the GNBS, Dr Justina Ansah, made this known at the 2016 National Blood Donor Day.
The day, which also marked the launch of the annual blood donation campaign, was on the theme: “Blood connects us all”.
The event highlighted and honoured individuals who donated blood voluntarily, as well as organisations and institutions that supported blood donation programmes.
Supported by the Rotary Club, the event was attended by students, blood donors, as well as organisations and institutions that supported blood donation programmes.
The 2016 Best Blood Donor award went to Nana Bamfo Debrah, who has so far donated 53 times. He received a refrigerator, a citation and a certificate.
Messrs Moses Tetteh and Edward Abbey came second and third, having donated 52 and 51 times, respectively.
Organisations such as the Holy Spirit Cathedral Church, UNIBANK and GH One Television were honoured with citations in recognition of their significant support for the blood collection programme in Ghana.
Blood collection index
According to Dr Ansah, Ghana’s blood collection index per 1,000 was 6.0, indicating that only six out of every 1,000 people in any community donated blood countrywide.
“This is woefully inadequate for a middle-income country as ours where the minimum blood collection index per 1,000 population should be 10 by WHO standard,” she stated.
She expressed worry over the situation, saying “if Ghanaians from all walks of life will accept voluntary blood donation as a civic responsibility, we can achieve the annual target”.
Regular voluntary blood donors, she said, were noted for their foundation of safe and adequate blood supply because they were least likely to transmit HIV and other infections through blood.
‘Some deaths could be prevented’
The Minister of Health, Mr Alex Segbefia, who arrived about 20 minutes after the scheduled time for the start of the programme, did not hesitate to apologise to the students and other dignitaries for coming late before he read his speech.
In his speech, he commended voluntary blood donors for helping to provide quality health care for Ghanaians, saying that “hundreds of patients in hospitals rely on the generosity of voluntary blood donors either to recover or stay alive”.
He said most deaths, especially maternal ones, could be prevented if more people volunteered to donate blood, as most women died from severe bleeding during child birth.
Even though there had been some progress in blood donation, he said, Ghana was still far from meeting the national target.
He pledged the government’s support to the GNBS to ensure that it adequately executed its mandate.