The National Blood Service has recorded a sharp decline in blood donation in the first five months of 2020 as compared to the same period in the previous year in the Southern Zone – Accra and its environs.
This decline is attributed to the impact of COVID-19 and its restrictions.
The volume of blood dropped from 7,494 pints in the first five months of 2019 to 5,555 this year.
This represents a whopping 25.9% drop.
This means that thousands of Ghanaians with various health conditions that required blood transfusion might have died as a result of the non-availability of blood.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the National Blood Service, Mr Steven Addai-Baah, told The Finder that “stocks have always been dwindling since the novel coronavirus was recorded in the country”.
He explained that most donors have been under restrictions for some time while the fear of contracting COVID-19 has also scared others from donating blood.
“Institutions like the churches, schools and other institutional bodies have been our constant donors.
“Prior to the COVID-19, stocks were usually appreciable because our donors were consistent, but as result of the restrictions, donations have declined.
“We had a plan with the churches, schools and institutions to donate every four months, with others also donating every two years,” he stressed.
Total units of blood in the nation
Addai-Baah mentioned that he could not disclose the volume of blood the country has at the moment because they did not have the data from other Regions.
The National Blood Service is divided into three zones: southern zone, which is Accra and its environs; central zone, which is Kumasi in Ashanti Region and its environs; and Tamale takes care of the five regions of the north.
“In Accra, we usually supply about 150 to 200 pints of blood every day, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, we are unable to meet that demand even though the request for blood keeps coming in.
“About eight to 15 people currently donate blood in a day, which is woefully inadequate.
“We have types of blood donation, which is the voluntary blood donation, family replacement donation and commercial donations. Currently, we normally do more of family replacement, where a relative is asked to donate to the other, and that has increased more in this period of COVID-19,” he added.
Strategies to make up for voluntary blood donation
In the quest to make up for easy and accessible voluntary donation of blood, he said, the southern zone has set up more centres within communities.
His outfit, Addai-Baah indicated, has resorted to appealing to people at their doorsteps to donate blood, adding, “We have asked people to come around to donate blood. Prior to the pandemic, we waited for people to walk in to donate blood, and this has become difficult, so we are currently taking it to the doorstep of the community.
“We currently have one at Adenta Municipal Assembly, Tema Municipal Assembly and Kasoa Methodist Church.
“The assemblies have been kind enough to announce to the community by the help of their information van to go round the community to announce that the blood donation team is stationed at the assembly and that they should come and donate,” he said.
The PRO for the National Blood Service also stated that they have a database of their regular donors, and it helps them to call to remind them to donate blood.