Min­is­ter pays trib­ute to blood donors

Lesotho Times - - Health - Lim­pho Sello

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.

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