Health & Sports ministers participate in blood donation
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
The ministers of Health and Social Welfare, and the minister of Youth and Sports, Fatim Badjie and Alieu K. Jammeh respectively on Friday donated blood as part of activities marking the commemoration of World Blood Donor Day, recently held at the Sukuta market.
The theme for this year’s commemoration, ‘Every blood donor is a hero’, which according to Minister Badjie focuses on the idea that each individual can be a hero by donating blood. She said that it is also meant to recognise efforts of heroes who donate blood and save lives every day, as well as encourage blood donation across the globe voluntarily and regularly.
For his part, Alpha Jallow, who spoke on behalf of the WHO representative in The Gambia, Dr. Thomas Sukuwa, stated that the event provides an opportunity to draw public attention to the importance of blood donation in saving lives. The theme brings to light the importance of mobilising adequate resources to support efforts to achieve 100% voluntary blood donations, noting that safe and adequate supplies of blood are needed to save lives because blood is often the only means of survival.
said that in the African region, a significant number of patients needing blood
transfusion do not have timely access to blood.Blood, Jallow added transmits diseases, haemorrhage and
anaemia during difficult childbirth, road accidents, and others of the scale of
the unmet needs in the region.
He stated that a lot of progress has been made
in the WHO African sub-region since the adoption of the regional strategy on
blood safety in 2001 as well as other policies made in countries with implementation
plans to ensure the provision of adequate safe blood supply by improving blood
donor recruitment, testing of blood, appropriate clinical use of blood and
establishment of quality systems.
“However it is regrettable that others are far from reaching the target of collecting at least 80% of donated blood fro voluntary and regular donors,” he further stated. He disclosed that about 20 out of the 46 countries of the WHO African region collect more than 50% of their units of blood from replacement family donors, in spite of the laudable efforts and progress in recent years units of blood collected remain in adequate.
Jallow also described blood donation as an act of generosity, solidarity and humanism, noting that it is indeed an act of heroism that brings immense joy to blood donors whose sole aim is to give back life and hope to patients who would otherwise not survive without this selfless act. He thanked all voluntary donors for their loyalty and commitment whiles appealing to all and sundry to emulate this gesture by donating blood to ensure that there is adequate supply in health facilities.
Jallow further called on all countries to accelerate efforts in mapping out new strategies to convert family donors into voluntary and regular donors because they constitute the cornerstone of any reliable and sustainable blood transfusion system. He concluded by conveying the WHO regional office for Africa’s continued support in all initiatives helping to improve blood transfusion safety in general and to increase blood collection.
Aminata Sarr, the programme manager of the National Blood Transfusion Services, revealed that the blood transfusion in The Gambia is largely hospital based with 80-90% of the blood supply coming from relatives of patients and only 10% from voluntary blood donors. She said transfusion medicine is not limited to the collecting, testing, processing and storage of blood it is major discipline in science requiring recruitment and retention of healthy blood donors as well as training of physicians in the appropriate use of blood and blood products.
that the need for adequate and safe blood and its products for patients cannot
be over estimated especially in developing countries, adding that blood saves
lives as well as improve the quality of patient care and reduces hospital stay.She further disclosed that deaths
occurring due to lack of timely availability of safe blood transfusion are well
document in The Gambia especially during childbirth, being one of the major
causes of referral of mothers to RVTH.
Sarr stated that since 2010 to date they have achieved a strong commitment and support by government of The Gambia, and Ministry of Health, the National Blood Transfusion Programme and provision of blood donors for the first time, with the lack of finance, skilled man power, and poor quality management being a major challenge.
concluded by noting that there is the need to conduct a detailed situation
analysis on the existing status of blood safety and availability in The Gambia
with the aim of identifying the issues and challenges, which shall guide the
way forward in improving blood services for the population.
The occasion was attended by people from different walks of life and residents of Sukuta who held a match past from Junction Baa to the market square, as well as musicians such as ENC, Baddibunka, Dro killer, Cesc and Poetic X.
Author: Bintou KB Janneh