The Deputy Minister of Health, Mrs Tina Mensah, has called on Ghanaians, especially the youth, to donate blood regularly to help save lives.
She attributed the perennial shortage of blood at the National Blood Bank to the lack of awareness and unwillingness by some Ghanaians to voluntarily donate blood.
The minister said it was necessary to move away from donating blood to only sick family members, and embrace the spirit of voluntarism.
Mrs Mensah made the call at a ceremony to commemorate this year’s Blood Donor Day in Accra last Friday.
The programme, which was on the theme: “Blood donation and universal access to safe blood transfusion,” was organised by the National Blood Service and it attracted various stakeholders, including voluntary blood donors.
The slogan for this year’s event was “Safe blood for all.”
Blood Service Bill
Mrs Mensah announced that her ministry had reviewed and submitted a National Blood Service bill to cabinet for consideration and approval.
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When passed, the National Blood Service law will coordinate and supervise all blood services in the country.
“And as a sign of the ministry’s support to the National Blood Supply Strengthening Programme (NBSSP), all agencies of the ministry have been directed to have blood donation exercises as part of their annual plan activities,” she said.
According to the minister, most of the agencies under the ministry had nominated persons to liaise with the national blood service to organise regular staff sensitisation and blood donation exercises.
She added that her outfit would extend the campaign on voluntary blood donation to other ministries, departments and agencies.
Mrs Mensah commended the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission for organising blood donation exercises as part of their humanitarian services and also making voluntary blood donation part of their annual national convention for the past three years.
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Blood Service (NBS), Dr Justina Kordai Ansah, said the implementation of the NBSSP was to improve access to safe and quality blood services in the country.
The NBSSP has a target of increasing the proportion of voluntary blood donations from the current level of 37 per cent to 75 per-cent within a short to medium term.
For his part, the Country Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Owen Laws Kaluwa, said blood transfusion was critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.8, which seeks to ensure health for all.
Recognition was given to some institutions for allowing their students to engage in blood donation exercises.
They included the Seventh Day Congregation of Theocracy, the Presbyterian Church, Mamprobi, Mount Olivet Methodist Church, Dansoman, and the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).
The rest were the College of Health Sciences, Ada College of Education, St. John’s Grammar, Achimota, Osudoku Senior High School, Ghanatta Senior High School, Ada Senior High School and Achimota Senior High School.
The Blood Donor Day is commemorated globally every year to raise awareness on the need to save lives through voluntary blood donation.
The day is also used to thank blood donors for their support.