National Blood Bank inhibited by blood shortage for over two years


…FDA to the rescue with blood donation exercise

The core activity of the National Blood Bank (NBB) has been severely affected over the course of the 24 months, owing particularly to the outbreak of COVID-19. This has worsened the plight of the bank, which had struggled with apathy to blood donations even prior to the outbreak.

To remedy this, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has come to the rescue of the struggling blood bank with a blood donation exercise across its stations. The exercise dubbed ‘Donate blood, save a life’ saw staff, clients and other partners of the Authority donate blood nationwide.

The Head of Centre for Import and Export Control Division of FDA, Emmanuel Yaw Kwarteng, said the exercise is a key Corporate Social Responsibility activity of the Authority, owing to the indispensability of blood to public health and national development.

While the FDA has undertaken the exercise over the last three years, the importance of the initiative was underscored this year as it was expanded by inviting other key agencies such as the National Identification Authority (NIA) and the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) among others, to help raise 1,000 pints of blood.

“Blood donation is a noble and important function we all need to perform. But the biggest and the most important reason FDA is spearheading this is that the law demands FDA to regulate the blood bank. This means that we are part and parcel of the blood bank and the availability of quality blood in the hospitals. So we are interested in the quality of blood and quality of storage facilities we have nationwide,” Mr. Kwarteng told the B&FT while urging Ghanaians who are medically fit to endeavour to donate blood.

A member of the National Blood Bank Service Donor Recruitment, Victor Israel told the B&FT in an interview, “Anything there is an exercise like this, we see it as a blessing because we have an issue of blood shortage but there are many people who need blood. The National Blood Service has suffered very much due to the COVID-19.”

He added that one major challenge the Bank has been faced with is the general perception towards blood donation.

“The blood bank is having difficulty in meeting its requirement, we are not getting enough people to actually donate. One difficulty is the perception of people towards blood donation.

We have difficulty of organizing, where getting people to a particular place is a problem and sponsorship. Now, we have organisations like the FDA putting this together and that has helped us a lot.

With more of this, Mr. Israel indicated, his outfit is hopeful of overcoming the challenges of blood shortages within the next two years and meeting the goal of 100 percent voluntary donations.

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