Minister pays tribute to blood donors
MINISTER of Health Molotsi Monyamane has hailed blood donors for saving lives by restocking the blood bank.
Speaking on Monday during belated World Blood Donor Day commemorations at Queen Elizabeth II hospital, Dr Monyamane described blood donors as heroes who have helped keep the health delivery system functional.
Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day.
The event serves to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need.
The theme of this year’s commemorations was “Thank you for saving my life”.
The celebrations also served to encourage more people to donate blood voluntarily and regularly with the slogan: “Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.”
The minister set the tone for the commemorations by being the first blood donor.
In his keynote address, Dr Monyamane said it was not his first time donating blood as he had been a blood donor since 1986.
“Donating blood is very important as it saves people’s lives and donors use a God-given resource to bring life to others,” he said.
Dr Monyamane added that the theme also served to highlight stories from people whose lives had been saved through blood donations, as a way of motivating regular blood donors to continue and people in good health who have never given blood to begin doing so.
“I appeal to every citizen of Lesotho who is healthy to start donating blood,” the minister said.
The Lesotho Blood Transfusion Services (LBTS), Dr Monyamane said, had experienced many challenges over the years such as acute shortages of blood.
This was partly alleviated by the donation of two blood receiving points in Leribe and Mohale’s Hoek by the United States government.
LBTS was created in June 1984 to provide safe and adequate blood and blood products to the country’s hospitals.
“With the support of the American government, the Ministry of Health was able to increase the blood bank from 3 900 units of blood in 2010 to 8 300 in 2014 which is a 53 percent increase,” he said.
“Although blood donations have increased, its usage has also increased annually and is mostly used by HIV and AIDS patients and women giving birth.”
He also urged Basotho to consci- entise their communities about the importance of blood donations.
In his remarks, World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative Wilfred Nkhoma said it was common knowledge that blood transfu- sion played an essential role in the provision of health care, particularly victims of trauma, accidents and women who lose blood during and after childbirth.
Dr Nkhoma said the World Blood Donor Day campaign should be used to increase awareness about the importance of timely access to safe blood and blood products.
“Donating blood is a selfless and noble gesture that gives back life and hope to patients,” said Dr Nkhoma.
“I therefore express my gratitude to each blood donor for their regular blood donations, the government, blood donor associations and nongovernmental organisations that are working tirelessly to make safe blood available in healthcare facilities throughout the country.”
He also called for more synergies between communities, health care workers, development partners and other relevant stakeholders to support government in efforts to ensure copious and timely availability of safe blood and blood products at facilities across the country.
“Let me also call upon all of us to donate blood freely and often,” Dr Nkhoma said.
“You never know when you or your loved ones may need this lifegiving fluid.”
MINISTER of Health Molotsi Monyamane (right) donates blood on Monday during belated World Blood Donor Day commemorations at Queen Elizabeth II hospital.