June 20, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Head of the National Blood Services Programme in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation yesterday stated that there was currently a gross shortage of blood in the country, thus appealing to Sierra Leoneans to voluntarily donate to save the lives of especially pregnant women and children.
Professor Sahr Moses Gevao was speaking during a presser in the conference room of the ministry, to commemorate this year’s World Blood Donor Day.
The day, which is being observed on 14 June of every year, is used to raise awareness on the need for safe blood and blood products, and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gifts of blood.
“People lose their lives because of lack of access to blood. Access to blood is critical to save the lives of women, sick children and babies and victims of road traffic accidents and disasters. There is no factory where blood is manufactured,” Professor Gevao said.
He noted that the only way to save the lives of people, especially pregnant women and children would be through voluntary blood donations by compatriots.
According to him, most of the blood they get comes from voluntary and replacement blood donors, but disclosed that voluntary blood donors constitutes 15% of supplies.
“Blood is the best gift to mankind. We are encouraging people to come with their relatives to donate blood to save lives. Blood donation is a healthy endeavor,” he noted and emphasized that blood are only collected from those that are fit to donate.
Because voluntary blood donation is safer than replacement of blood, Professor Gevao called for the donation of blood as according to him, there was no blood in the blood banks across the country.
He disclosed that on Wednesday June 21, 2017, the ministry in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners would embark on voluntary blood donations across the country to help replenish the country’s blood stocks and save lives.
Also, WHO Lead for Reproductive and Maternal Health, Dr. Fatu Fornah said: “Voluntary blood donation is very important. Our women most times die as a result of bleeding.”
She stated that the focus of the voluntary blood donation drive would be to get communities involved in voluntary blood donations.
Also speaking was a representative from the National Association of Voluntary Blood Donors, Desmond Lewis, who added that many people feel nervous when donating blood for the first time.
He disclosed that he started donating blood in May 1988 and that since that time; he has done one hundred (100) voluntary blood donations, mostly to the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital.