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Blood banks need right infrastructure – UCC Dean

PROFESSOR MRS Ivy Adwowa Efiefi Ekem, Dean of Medical Sciences at the University of Cape Coast, has called on the government to provide the right infrastructure for the blood banks to enable workers to give world-class service.

Prof Ekem said the budgetary support for their activities came from the government and appealed that their activities should be prioritised since “the blood service requires sound infrastructure to make it successful and avoid a crisis.”

She made the appeal at the opening of the third ECOWAS regional conference of the Africa Society for Blood Transfusion (AfSBT) in Accra.

The two-day conference is on the theme ‘Voluntary unpaid blood donation – Requirement for quality health system”.

Prof Ekem explained sound infrastructure as putting the right system and structures in place,  including effective information technology, appropriate buildings, vehicles, financial fluidity and quality systems for all processes.

Professor Ekem said an effective blood service, recruiting voluntary unpaid donors, needed to work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service, Christian Health Association of Ghana, Red Cross, institutions of learning, the media, corporate institutions, the Ministries of Women and Children, Roads and Highways, the general populace and the National Ambulance Service.

These collaborations, she stated, must come with mutual understanding and respect.

Professor Ekem called for regular dialogue with funders to ensure that regulations would be enforced and also have an independent body with legal backing.

This, she said, would ensure that members in the sub-region applied the same standards in donor recruitment and retention, testing and storage, use of blood and blood products and above all, being equipped to do so.

She called on members of AfSBT and the ECOWAS region to recruit more voluntary blood donors to help achieve the 100% donation with a blood collection index of 10, saying that the centres in Ghana were increasing their voluntary blood pool.

She discouraged the giving of souvenirs to donors, except for special occasions, stating that they should be made to understand that their efforts were invaluable and that they were being recognised.

Professor Ekem, on the other hand, said doctors should be trained to investigate anaemia and how it could properly be treated to avoid the situation where they would need a blood transfusion.

Professor Aba Omotunde Sagoe, a Consultant Haematologist, said the donors should be educated to overcome their fears of blood donation and be made to appreciate the benefits such as free health checks, rejuvenation of blood and saving the lives of others.

Mrs Mavis Okyere, Chairperson of the Local Planning Committee, said the conference offered members the opportunity to renew contacts and discuss issues of mutual interest.

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