The National Blood Service, Ghana (NBSG), has introduced an appointment system for voluntary blood donors to donate blood at designated Blood Collection Sites with enhanced safety procedures in Accra and Kumasi.
This would help sustain blood supply especially for emergency cases and avert the situation of having to lose lives due to blood shortage for transfusion.
This was contained in a statement issued in Accra by Mr Prince E. Asante, the Head of Administration, NBS, and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA).
It said the cancellation of nationwide mass blood drives by schools, religious organisations, and corporate institutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in acute shortage of blood and components at the three main Blood Centres in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale as these events contributed to 50 per cent of the country’s blood supply.
For this reason, it said, the COVID-19 Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee has approved the issuance of Blood Donation Pass by the NBS to facilitate the movement of voluntary blood donors who have scheduled appointments to donate blood at the designated collection sites, it added.
“The Aide-Memoire on COVID-19 for Blood Centres, Hospital Blood Banks, and Health Facilities has been developed and disseminated,” it said.
This, it explains, emphasises the shift from mass blood drives to walk-in voluntary donations at designated Blood Collection Sites, the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety supplies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and transfusion of blood by Clinicians only when it is absolutely necessary.
It said the NBS has also revised its blood donor screening protocol with an enhanced donor questionnaire as a first line screening tool.
This requires potential blood donors who have a travel history or have had symptoms of common cold, flu or temperature (fever) over the past 14 days are urged to self-defer.
“It is important to assure the public that there is no demonstrable transmission of COVID-19 through blood and components,” it said.
According to the statement, sufficient precautionary measures are in place to contain any potential risk of COVID-19 transmission through transfusion.
These measures, it said, include deferral of at-risk donors, quarantine of suspected blood and components, laboratory testing, and the use of pathogen reduction technology.
It urged voluntary blood donors to contact the NBS via its Donor Contact Centre for a blood donation appointment to save lives at this critical moment of COVID-19 pandemic.
The safety of donors from COVID-19 infection during the blood donation process has been adequately provided at the Blood Collection Sites, it added.