National Blood Service moves to improve voluntary blood donation

BY: Juliet Akyaa Safo
 Dr Justina Kordai Ansah
Dr Justina Kordai Ansah

The National Blood Service collected only 36 per cent out of its target set for voluntary donors in 2017, recording low levels of voluntary blood donors.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Blood Service, Ghana (NBSG), Dr Justina Kordai Ansah, who made this known said the service planned to strengthen collaboration with stakeholders as part of measures to expedite voluntary blood donation across the country.

At the 2017 Annual Performance Review meeting held in Accra yesterday, she said discussions were underway with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Ghana Red Cross Society to promote the idea in educational institutions and among the youth.
“We believe that if citizens  see voluntary blood donation as a civic responsibility, we will not have the issue of shortage of blood in the country,” she stated.

Other measures

Dr Ansah added that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had also been signed with BISA, a mobile health technology company, to develop a blood donor mobile application to facilitate sensitisation among the public on the importance of voluntary unpaid blood donation.

“We also signed an MoU with Loyalty Insurance to set aside funds from annual proceeds to support voluntary blood donation activities,” she added.

Dr Ansah further stated that there would be various capacity-building workshops to enhance the operations of the service.
She also called for the passage of a Legislative Instrument (LI) to expedite the activities and coordination of blood service activities in the country.

The full implementation of the over 10 years blood policy, she said, would also help achieve its objective of encouraging voluntary blood donations.

“If one per cent of the population are to donate blood, we will have a solution to the acute shortage of blood,” Dr Ansah added.

Challenges

According to her, the NBSG lacked an adequate number of skilled staff, adequate functioning vehicles and essential equipment.

She also expressed concern about the over-reliance on family replacement donors and appealed to the media to educate the public on the importance of donating blood to save lives.

Support

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, commended the NBSG for its continuous support in saving lives and helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 3.

He gave an assurance that the government was committed to providing the necessary logistics and relevant human resources to ensure the achievement of the 100 per cent voluntary blood donation target.