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Campaign to encourage blood donation held

BY: Jemima Okang Addae
Arjun Mainali (right) presenting a World Blood Donor award to Ms Noeline Kumor who has donated 43 times. Picture: eboW hanson
Arjun Mainali (right) presenting a World Blood Donor award to Ms Noeline Kumor who has donated 43 times. Picture: eboW hanson

A renowned international blood donor, Arjun Prasad Mainali, organised a blood donation sensitisation campaign in Accra last Saturday to mark his 204th blood donation.

Mainali has visited 18 countries to donate blood since he started his first in 1987.

The event was held in collaboration with the National Blood Service Ghana (NBSG) and Non-Resident Nepali Association Ghana which sought to educate the public on the benefits and the need for regular voluntary blood donation.

“In all corners of the earth, those who receive my blood are like my own children. Donating blood is not harmful.

Donate blood at least once a year,” Mr Mainali advised.

Awareness

Chief Executive Officer of the NBSG, Shirley Owusu-Ofori, said the event was another opportunity to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donation while ensuring individuals and communities had access to safe and quality blood and its components (platelet) both in routine and emergency situations.

She said there was a need for safe blood to save and improve the lives of many patients who required transfusion therapy as part of the clinical management of their conditions.

Mrs Owusu-Ofori further explained that the demand for blood and its components far outstripped supply, especially from voluntary donors who were considered the safest source of blood.

“It is significant to note that of the estimated 80 million units of blood donated annually worldwide, only about 38 per cent to 50 per cent are collected in the developing world where 82 per cent of the world's population lives,” she stated.

She stated that in 2021, the country’s blood collection index, which indicated the number of persons who donated blood voluntary per 1,000 population, was 5.7.

Impact

She explained that lack of safe blood had severe impact on mortality as unsafe transfusions and lack of access to safe blood affected women with complications of pregnancy, trauma victims and children with severe life-threatening anaemia as a result of malaria or poor nutrition.

“Every day, an estimated 803 women die worldwide from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Nearly two thirds of these maternal deaths (62 per cent) occur in sub-Saharan Africa, with severe bleeding as the leading direct cause accounting for 24.5 per cent of maternal deaths in this region,” she added.

Ms Owusu-Ofori also said donated blood expired after 35 days and that all eight blood types had to be available at all times in the right proportions.

She stated that there was the need for continuous supply of blood through regular voluntary donations to ensure that blood and its components were available when the need arose.