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Korle Bu Blood Bank hit by blood shortage

BY: Abigail Bonsu

Speaking to graphic.com.gh, the Deputy Donor Recruiter of the centre, Mr Samuel Nunoo, said, so far, a number of churches had responded to the appeal.

The situation, he said, had improved slightly but was quick to add that, “We need more people to come and donate blood.”

The blood shortage was reported in the media last week with fears that the centre could close down if the situation does not improve.

 As at last Friday, the centre had only 28 pints screened for immediate use and 54 pints awaiting screening but by Monday, 268 units were waiting for processing.

Mr Nunoo said the bank’s blood stock had improved because during the weekend, the centre did some outreaches.

In response, the Odokor SDA donated 54 units; International Central Gospel Church, head office donated 100; Emmanuel Presbyterian Church at Mataheko responded with 17 units with another church at Pokuase giving nine units.

Additionally, 12 people have reported voluntarily to donate blood, an improvement of a situation which used to be an average of five volunteers in the past.

He said as a means of encouraging young people to donate blood, the centre had begun the formation of blood donation clubs in the various senior high schools.

Already 15 of such clubs are in existence in the Greater Accra Region alone.

Known as Pledge 25, SHS students are being oriented to start donating by ages 17 and by the time they reach age 25, they would have donated about 25 times if they consistently donate every four months

Ghana needs 250,000 units of blood annually to satisfy blood transfusion needs but the annual average currently is 130,000 leaving a shortfall of 120,000.

“If we are able to get this, anybody going to the hospital needing blood will get it without the hospital asking for replacement.”

“The ideal thing is that we want to get to the situation where all blood given to patients will be from voluntary sources, so that we don’t ask relatives to come and give blood for their patients,” Mr Nunoo said.

Major challenges inhibiting blood donation, Mr Nunoo, observed included fear.

“People fear that when they donate blood, something will happen to them.”

While others are afraid of knowing their health status after donating, he observed that generally people were also very apathetic.

 They are waiting until somebody is sick before they donate blood. But if you wait until that time, the blood you are donating to your patient may not be the same type that the patient may need.”

“Ideally, blood should be here waiting for patients to collect and not for people to get sick before they look for people to donate for them,” he said.

Story by Seth J. Bokpe