Dr Shirley Owusu-Ofori (4th from right), CEO, National Blood Service, with Dr Angela Ackom (3rd from right), Tech Officer, WHO, Dr Abigail Nyarko Kodjoe Derkyi-Kwarteng (5th from right), acting Director of Claims, NHIA, and other dignitaries and participants after the event. Picture: ERNEST KODZI
Dr Shirley Owusu-Ofori (4th from right), CEO, National Blood Service, with Dr Angela Ackom (3rd from right), Tech Officer, WHO, Dr Abigail Nyarko Kodjoe Derkyi-Kwarteng (5th from right), acting Director of Claims, NHIA, and other dignitaries and participants after the event. Picture: ERNEST KODZI

National Blood Service recognises blood donors

The National Blood Service has commemorated the 20th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day, recognising the selfless contributions of voluntary blood donors across Ghana. 

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The event,on the theme”: "20 years of celebrating giving; thank you, blood donors!," aimed to promote a culture of regular blood donation. Three religious groups and three corporate entities through whom selfless individuals had donated blood to save lives, were recognised.

For the religious groups category, International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) was named the best, Christian Youth Builders West Volta Presbytery and Legon Interdenominational Church were adjudged the second and third best donors, respectively.

The National Insurance Commission (NIC) took the first position, Melcom Group Limited was second, with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) being adjudged the third best in the corporate entities category. They each received plaques.

Government’s commitment

Speaking at the commemoration event last Friday, the Deputy Minister of Health, Alexander Akwasi Acquah, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to voluntary blood donors, healthcare workers and partners for their generosity in saving countless lives through blood donations.

He emphasised the significance of collective action in ensuring consistent and adequate blood supply, acknowledging progress made in Ghana's blood service’s sustainability, including increased voluntary donation rates, improved blood safety and expanded reach to more communities.

However, he emphasised that challenges still existed, and more people were needed to join the cause, hence the need for increased education and sensitisation. The minister pledged the government's continued support, including infrastructural development, technology adoption, staff training and recruitment of additional staff to augment the activities of the blood service. 

Show your arm

The Chief Executive of the National Blood Service, Dr Shirley Owusu-Ofori, said Ghana had made significant progress in blood service sustainability, with a 30 per cent voluntary donation rate and a blood collection index of 5.9.

She appealed to prospective blood donors to join the cause and encouraged regular blood donations to maintain adequate blood supplies. She launched a sub-slogan, "Be a life saver, show off your arm," and urged social media users to share pictures of their arm or friends who have successfully given blood using the service’s social media platforms.

WHO support

The acting World Health Organisation (WHO) Ghana Representative, Dr Frank John Lule, in a speech read on his behalf by the Technical Officer of WHO Ghana, Dr Angela Ackon, said blood transfusion played a critical role in the provision of life-saving health care, particularly for vulnerable individuals such as mothers during childbirth, undernourished and malaria-affected children, victims of trauma and accidents, patients suffering from sickle cell disease and other chronic diseases.

The WHO, she said, had provided technical and financial support to countries, and Ghana had made significant progress, including developing a national blood policy and increasing blood units collected per thousand population.

However, more needs to be done to address the persistent challenges in the availability of safe blood and blood products through collective efforts to raise sustainable funding, build systems and capacities to increase blood donation rates, and separate donated blood into its components for long-term use.  

Need to build capacity

The Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr Dacosta Aboagye, who was represented by the NHIA acting Director for Claims Dr Abigail Nyarko Cudjoe, emphasised the importance of recognising the impact of blood donors, who have been the lifeline for many. 

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