50% of maternal mortality due to lack of blood for transfusion

An estimated fifty percent of maternal mortalities recorded in Accra are as a result of the none availability of blood for onward transfusion to the pregnant women who need it.

This is according to the Manager of Donor Services, at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital Blood Bank, Tetteh Carboo.

Mr. Carboo who made the disclosure on Multi TV’s current affairs show pm: EXPRESS also indicated that less than one percent of Ghanaians donate blood across the country adding that “the percentage is so small you can’t even compute”.

Biomedical experts contend that if at least 1 percent of Ghanaians donate blood, the country would not have to grapple with acute blood shortage at the blood bank of the nation’s premiere hospital.

The blood bank at the Korle- Bu Teaching Hospital has once again being hit by an acute shortage of blood – a development which is not new to the department.

Explaining the cause of the intermittent shortage of blood at the blood bank, Mr. Carboo noted that the problem was due to demand outstripping supply “all the time”.

The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital alone requires 100 units of blood daily with the entire Greater Accra region needing 250 units of blood daily “because we are supposed to supply all other clinics in the region and even to the Eastern and Volta regions and this doesn’t happen because we don’t have enough. The reason being, the source of blood is from me and you. If we don’t donate, there won’t be blood”, Tetteh Carboo told pm: EXPRESS Host Nii Arday Clegg.

It is regrettable that Ghana has never achieved a 50 percent voluntary blood donation status, with the percentage fluctuating between 28 and 45 percent despite other African countries like Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Togo having achieved 100 percent status.

Ghana is only able to collect about 40,000 units of blood annually despite the requirement for blood hovering around 100,000 units annually.

The Blood Bank at Korle-Bu can hold 2,000 units of blood at any given time which can be stored for up to 35 days.

According to Mr. Carboo, the solution to the acute shortage lies in Ghanaians being altruistic donors. “You walk in, donate and end of story; but no, we want to come in and donate for money, we want to donate for milo, we want to donate for hampers, we want to donate for T-Shirts and when we cannot supply these things, we cannot sustain their interest”.

He stressed that it has become very problematic that the Ghanaian keeps looking forward to material benefits before committing to donate blood instead of thinking of the ultimate objective which is to save lives.

For now, the pervading practice is for donors to be given cards which afford them ready blood at inopportune times, preferential treatment when they visit the hospital and also free medical screening every time they donate.

Inviting the public to patronize the emergency donation exercise being organized by Joy FM on Saturday, Mr. Carbbo assured the public that donating blood does not deplete one’s stock, adding that a pint of blood is almost like one sachet water and every human being has about 11 pints in them.

To become anemic, one would have to lose close to 6 pints. The blood is replenished in a month and by four months time, the donor would have fully recuperated to enable him donate again.

The cycle thus means, every Ghanaian can donate three times annually. If every Ghanaian donates once in his life time, there will never be a shortage.

Mr. Carboo advised the public to shun commercial donors indicating that the quality of their blood is questionable especially with just one third of red blood cells contained in the entire pint they donate.

Source: Multi tv

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