The Ministry of Health celebrated the annual World Blood Donor Day on Monday with the theme “New Blood for the World”.
The aim of the day is to raise global awareness of the need for safe and adequate blood and blood products for transfusion and of the critical contribution voluntary unpaid blood donors make to the health system.
The National Blood Transfusion Center in Gaborone hosted the celebration. This year’s theme is focused on a new generation of idealistic and motivated voluntary unpaid blood donors who can form a pool that provides the safest blood possible for use whenever it is needed to save lives.
“Regular blood donors are not only safest donors, they are also the foundation of sustainable national blood supplies that are sufficient to meet the needs of all patients requiring transfusion,” said the Minister of Health, Rev. Dr. John Seakgosing. “Countries are urged to improve their efforts to increase the number of regular donors in order to maintain a stable pool of donors who will meet the country’s requirements for safe blood at all times.”
Seakgosing further declared that the government of Botswana is committed to providing the best health service to its entire people.
“Blood and blood products are regularly used in the treatment of many diseases, including anemia due to HIV, other anemias, severe loss of blood during delivery and various blood disorders. This makes blood donation and blood donors an integral part of our public health system.”
Representing the World Health Organization, Dr. Eugene Nyako, congratulated the government of Botswana for having achieved 100% non-remunerated donation of blood.
“In the WHO African region, out of an estimated average of 3.5 million units of blood collected every year, only 60 percent to 67 percent is collected from voluntary blood donors and less than 50 percent of countries have so far, achieved the target of collecting at least 80 percent of blood from voluntary blood donors by 2012.”
Nyako highlighted the functional and effective Blood Transfusion Services as they are a vital component of any national health system, and their contribution to reducing maternal and child mortality has been well documented.
“Our goal should be to achieve 100 percent voluntary blood donation and the role of the young generation in this effort is paramount,” added Nyako.
Present at the celebration were the Heads of Departments, Members of the Diplomatic community, Councilors and the Mayor of Gaborone, Ms. Veronica Lesole and other senior officials from the Ministry of Health.
The Botswana Police band provided musical entertainment.