Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has appealed to Ghanaians to make voluntary blood donation a civic responsibility.
He said the situation where people would wait until their relatives or friends needed blood before they showed up to donate did not ensure timely availability of safe blood for patients.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur made the appeal at 15th National Blood Donor Day and the launch of the Annual Voluntary Blood Donation Campaign in Accra.
This year’s National Blood Donor Day is being celebrated on the theme: “Thank You For Saving Lives,” which focuses on thanking blood donors who save lives every day through their donations.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur stated that despite the fact that the country was celebrating voluntary blood donors, the nation’s blood supplies still fell short of the 100,000 units, which was the requirement to ensure that the needs of every patient were met.
He said the country had to move away from the current replacement blood donation system, a 100 percent voluntary donation by year 2020, the target set for all countries by the World Health Organization.
He said the National Blood Service played a complementary role of ensuring regular blood supply all-year round notwithstanding the resource constraints it faced.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur also assured of government’s commitment to ensure the provision of personnel and logistics to the service to enhance efficiency in service delivery.
He called for the recruitment of voluntary non-remunerated blood donors from educational institutions, District Assemblies, the corporate sector, faith-based organizations, and the media.
Mr Alex Segbefia, Minister of Health, appealed to the general public to come on board the voluntary blood donation campaign.
He urged Ghanaians to join these efforts to increase voluntary blood donations, to ensure the timely availability of blood and blood products for patients.
He pledged his Ministry’s support to facilitate the passage of the Blood Service Bill which would ensure a well-coordinated Blood Service.
Mr Segbefia also pledged to work towards a more effective intra and inter-sectoral collaboration, to ensure that the country’s hospital blood banks had sufficient supplies of blood to save lives.
He commended the Rotary Clubs of Accra and Accra Ridge for their collaboration with the National Blood Service over the years to organize the Annual National Blood Donor Day.
Dr Lucy Asamoah-Akuoko, the Acting Director of the National Blood Service, Ghana, thanked all the voluntary unpaid blood donors for their gift of blood which had saved many lives over the years.
She appealed to Ghanaians to join the voluntary blood donation exercise, adding that through that means the nation would achieve the objective of self-sufficiency in blood supply, based on 100 percent voluntary unpaid blood donation.
She said the estimated minimum national blood requirement was 250,000 units per year, thus requiring only one percent of Ghana’s population to donate once a year.
Dr Asamoah-Akuoko also noted that in Ghana voluntary blood donations was only about 30 percent of the total annual donations.
She said while family replacement blood donation continued to be used as a stop gap due to the shortfall in the supply from voluntary donations, this system did not ensure adequacy, safety and timeliness of blood supply.
Mr Kwesi Agyemang-Baffour, who has donated blood 54 times, was adjudged the national best donor and given a double-deck refrigerator and a citation.
Mr Ebenezer Kisiedu, who has donated blood 52 times, came second and was awarded a refrigerator and a citation, while Mr Kojo Badu Keelson, who has also donated 50 times came third and was given a flat screen TV and a citation. GNA