Ghana launches project to increase blood donation and supply
The National Blood Service, Ghana (NBSG), in collaboration with Global Blood Fund and DIAGAST, has launched a project to promote blood donation among non-blood donors.
The project, dubbed, “Know Your Type” aims to address the pressing need for an increased supply of safe blood and to ensure that individuals are well-informed about their blood type and the significance it holds in emergencies.
It also seeks to bridge the gap between the demand for blood and its availability, saving more lives, by using a step-by-step approach to recruiting blood donors – also known as the foot-in-the-door approach.
Dr Shirley Owusu-Ofori, the Chief Executive Officer of NBS, speaking at the launch, said the need for blood is constant and critical.
However, the availability of blood donors often falls short of the demand, leading to immense challenges and preventable deaths, especially among women around childbirth and children.
“It is this pressing need that has ignited our determination to mobilize blood donors effectively and efficiently,” she stated.
It is this challenge that The Global Blood Fund’s ‘Know Your Type’ project aims to address, she said.
The NBS CEO said the project recognised the importance of education surrounding blood types.
“We understand that not everyone is aware of their blood type or the significance it holds in emergencies.
Therefore, by launching this initiative, we will be launching a comprehensive public awareness campaign, spreading knowledge about the different blood types, their compatibility, and the crucial role they play in saving lives.
Mr. Evans Gavin, the Executive Director of Global Blood Fund, giving a background on the initiative, said discussions on the project started in 2019, and by January 2020, a draft proposal was considered to support the project.
However, COVID-19 hit, and the project was put on hold.
M Gavin thus encouraged Ghanaians to take advantage of the project to know their blood type and become voluntary blood donors.
He said the Global Blood Fund looked forward to continuing their relationship with the National Blood Service to ensure continuous blood availability and sustainability.
Dr Lucy Asamoah-Akuoko, Head of Research, Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, said the project’s components include mapping out facilities/communities that have not donated blood before, visiting sites to enroll potential blood donors, and exposing them to intervention.
The intervention consists of a free ABO RhD test using the Diagast ADB pads, delivering test results to potential donors, using specially designed blood group information cards, educating potential donors, and inviting them to donate blood.
The component also includes paying follow-up visits within 2-4 weeks for blood donation and evaluating the impact using questionnaires, qualitative interviews, and a review of data.
“Several staff from donor services, laboratory, and research, departments have been trained on the protocol, procedures, and workflow,” she said.
Dr Asamoah-Akuoko said the project was planned to be implemented within the operations of the Blood Centre and would therefore require the support and commitment of all staff.
If successfully implemented and proven to be effective, there were plans to seek support for scaling up to facilitate recruitment of new donors across.
Mr Stephane Eznack, the General Manager of Africa, DIAGAST said as part of the project package was donating blood typing tools to the NBS to enable the donors know their blood group.