#Article (Archive)

All Must Donate to Save the Lives of Fellow Gambians

Jun 24, 2008, 6:18 AM

We support 100% the recent call made by Dr. Malick Njie, Secretary of State for Health and Social Welfare, for an increase in blood donations. It has been reported in Today that Dr. Njie recently revealed that the current supply of blood is about 12 to 14 thousand units annually, an amount which only satisfies 50% of the demand. Perhaps the most disappointing part of this terrible situation is that it is so very preventable. Those who can donate blood have a duty as citizens to do so. It is an extremely safe and painless procedure and it saves lives. Blood transfusions are needed during many routine operations and procedures and The Point understands that on a number of occasions, operations have been prevented from going ahead because there is insufficient blood supply to carry them out. This is serious enough when the surgery can't  wait, but if a woman needs a blood transfusion during childbirth and there is no blood available, the likelihood is that she will die. For this reason it is not an overstatement to say that our sisters, daughters and mothers are dying because we are not giving enough blood. As Dr. Malick Njie said recently, "there is no substitute for blood donations in situations of acute blood loss."

 Put in these stark but realistic terms, it should be an easy choice for every Gambian when they consider whether or not to give blood.

There are many myths which exist around blood transfusions and these must be discarded by all. The procedure holds no risk for the person donating; it only allows the donor to save the life of another. Donating blood is what might very accurately be described as a win-win situation.

We must use this opportunity to commend the First Lady, Madam Zenab Yahya Jammeh, for setting such a fine example to all by voluntarily giving non-remunerated blood. This example must be followed by all so that we can save more lives. Giving blood is easy and, as a result, it is easy for all of us to save the lives of our fellow Gambians.

"No personal consideration should stand in the way of performing a public duty."

Ulysses S. Grant