JICA offers assistance to Ghana to make make blood safer

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is supporting Ghana to make transfused blood safer under a US$500,000-technology programme with the National Blood Service (NBS).


Under the Programme, equipment would be sited at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital at Kumasi, to efficiently screen blood to prevent the transmission of HIV, syphilis and malaria to patients.

The Ministry of Health and the NBS have partnered JICA and the TERUMO Blood Management Company to execute the two-year programme, which takes off this year.

The respective partners, consequently, on Wednesday, signed an agreement at a ceremony in Accra, towards the implementation of the programme.

The programme, dubbed, “The Reduction of the Risk Transfusion Transmitted Infection (TTI) with Haemovigilance Infrastructure”, involves a technology developed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious agents through blood transfusion.

TERUMO is deploying the Mirasol WB system with a functional Haemovigilance Infrastructure, as well as experts for the programme. They would train local managers to eventually manage the programme.

The Mirasol Pathogen Reduction Technology reduces the risk of infection or side effects from blood transfusion by using riboflavin (vitamin B2), a naturally occurring, non-toxic compound, combined with ultraviolet light, to provide effective reduction of viruses.

The Mirasol process also leads to white cell inactivation.

In a speech, read on his behalf at the ceremony, Mr Kaoru Yoshimura, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, reiterated Japan’s commitment to supporting Ghana’s health sector.

He said TERUMO was a renowned global leader in blood component, therapeutic apheresis, and cellular technologies.

He said it had to its credit a unique combination of apheresis collections, manual and automated whole blood processing, and pathogen reduction technologies.

Mr Yoshimura expressed his contentment that the implementation of the programme would involve the training of domestic experts to take over from their foreign counterparts.

Mr Alex Segbefia, the Minister of Health, urged the public to voluntarily donate blood to help save lives.

He commended Japan’s commitment to support the health sector, which dates back to the establishment Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.

He said Japan had provided various contributions to Ghana’s health sector through technical cooperation and grant contributions, as well as multilateral channels to strengthen the Health Service.

He said JICA was responsible for putting up 64 Community-based Health Planning Service Compounds in the Upper West Region, which had helped to galvanise the health structure.

“We are aware that recently Japan has come up with a novel way of conducting heart surgeries through the veins which means that heart patients stay shorter in hospital, intrusions in terms of the operation are made easier and the effects are more long lasting,” he said.

Mr Segbefia appealed to Japan to assist Ghana to train its medical surgeons in such innovative technological procedures.

“We will be happy to send our Surgeons if the need be to go and learn the techniques and get hold of the machineries that perform these surgeries because as a country we are beginning to see a rise in non-communicable disease, kidney issues, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart failure, cancer,” he said.

Mr Norihito Yonebayashi a Senior Representative of JICA said the Agency aimed at supporting the dissemination of the expertise of Japanese enterprises, technology, knowledge and systems, which had been confirmed to be effective in solving socioeconomic challenges of developing countries.

Source: GNA/News Ghana

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