The World Health Organization has enjoined African governments and political leaders on the need to prioritize the provision of financial resources in order to secure the future of national blood transfusion services in the region.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti made the call on the World Blood Donor Day message.

She said a blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products, in sufficient quantities, is a key component of an effective health system.

Thus canvassing for opportunities, partnerships, and collaborations with the media, the private sector, and faith-based and non-governmental organizations to help increase the recruitment and retention of voluntary unpaid blood donors in the sub-region. 

Speaking on the theme of this year’s World Blood Donor Day celebration “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives, highlights the critical role of voluntary blood donations in saving lives, and enhancing community solidarity and social cohesion. Donating just one unit of blood can save the lives of up to three patients.”

Dr. Moeti said globally, the African Region sees a disproportionate number of conditions requiring donor blood, hence this situation has impacted as many as seven million patients yearly due to health problems associated with haemorrhage, pregnancy, and childbirth, severe anaemia arising from malaria, and malnutrition, bone marrow and inherited blood disorders, trauma and accidents, as well as man-made and natural disasters. 

“On 14 June every year, the global community marks World Blood Donor Day to focus on the gift of life from voluntary unpaid blood donors around the world. Once again, we, as WHO in the African Region, join the call for more people to become regular blood donors.

While the need for donor blood is universal, access for everyone who needs it is not. In the African Region, demand regularly outstrips supply, negatively impacting timely access for all patients who need safe and quality-assured blood to save their lives.

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, voluntary unpaid blood donations dropped significantly.

By becoming a blood donor, you will help ease the pressure on health systems still struggling under the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The situation remains challenging, and it is exacerbated by issues such as staff shortages and limited funding from governments and partner organizations for effective blood donor education, recruitment, and retention.

As WHO in the African Region, we provide support to countries at various levels, including resource mobilization for the implementation of national blood transfusion plans.”

Dr. Moeti further applauds Africa’s blood donors and services staff for their selfless contribution to national health systems, thereby saving lives through transfusion therapy for patients who need it.

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