Story by Ruby Ann Sackeyfio (NBS Donor Contact Centre Agent)
The National Blood Service (NBS) held its Annual Performance Review (APR) for 2021 on 17 March 2022 at the Prof. J.K. Acquaye Conference Room (NBS headquarters). The theme for the APR 2021 was “Give Blood to Keep the World Beating”.
The review noted a slight increase in units of blood collected across Ghana in 2021 after the significant decline in 2020, which was due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 173,938 units of blood were collected in 2021, indicating a recovery from 156,453 collected in 2020. The year also saw a minimal increase in voluntary unpaid blood donations as against a decrease in family replacement blood donations. Also, blood collection index (BCI) per 1000 population also increased from 5.2 to 5.7. All these were disclosed by the,
In her address, Dr Justina K. Ansah (Chief Executive Officer of the National Blood Service) stated that 4,377 blood product units were supplied via drones to 78 facilities across the country in 2021, while blood centres provided 4787 units of blood products to Zipline.
A breakdown of the 2021 operational performance indicates that over 30,000 whole blood units were processed into blood components with 600 voluntary mobile blood collection sessions and more than 2000 educational talks on blood donations, with 100% of samples being tested for all four (4) mandatory transfusion-transmitted infections (TTIs). Nevertheless, more blood is needed because what the country had was still not sufficient.
Strategies being put in place to increase voluntary blood donations include converting family replacement donors to become voluntary blood donors.
Challenges faced in the year under review included an inadequate number of voluntary unpaid blood donors, ineffective coordination of blood services nationwide, absence of a board following the passage of the National Blood Service Act 2020 and inadequate vehicles, essential equipment and logistics at the zonal blood centres.
Through its representative who chaired the event, Dr. Barnabas Kwame Yeboah (Director of Nursing and Midwifery at the Ministry of Health Headquarters), the Ministry of Health urged the NBS to live up to its mandate: ensuring an effective and coordinated national approach to providing safe, adequate and efficacious blood products making it timely, accessible and affordable to all patients requiring blood transfusion therapy.