Dec 4, 2014, 10:36 AM
World Blood Donor Day is globally commemorated annually on 14 June, and the theme for this year is ‘Thanks for saving my life’.
It focuses on thanking blood donors who save lives every day through their blood donations while strongly encouraging more people all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly.
Speaking on the occasion, deputy governor of West Coast Region, Musa Amul Nyassi, said blood donation is all about saving lives of people; so it is important to recognise the day.
Aja Mariama Jammeh, programme manager, National Blood Transfusion Services, said blood donors are heroes and heroines.
Minister of Health Omar Sey urged the people to join hands in saving the lives of patients through blood donation.
“Donating blood is a selfless, noble gesture that gives back life and hope to patients,” he said.“I therefore challenge and call upon everyone to emulate the selfless gesture of blood donors and donate blood to ensure that there is adequate supply of blood in health facilities.”
Dr Matshidise Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said the commemoration of World Blood Donor Day is to increase awareness about the importance of blood donation and to encourage people to donate blood freely and often.
He said although the African region has made progress in collection of blood, the number of blood donations remains low in the continent.
The WHO official said that in 2013, about 3.9 million units of blood were donated which only covered about 50 per cent of the annual blood and blood products required by African countries.
Dr Moeti said the WHO regional office for Africa will continue to support countries and initiatives aimed at improving access to safe blood and blood products to save lives of patients.
The acting regional health director for West Coast Region, Zainab Jarju, said transfusion of blood and blood products have become an essential part of healthcare system.
She said that from January to May 2015, West Coast Region has registered 125 voluntary donors and 484 donors that donate to their relatives directly.
Madam Jarju said the total number of patients that required and received transfusion was 611 out of which 427 were pregnancy-related.
The World Blood Donor Day ceremony also witnessed the award of certificates to organisations like UNFPA, GAMBLOOD, PURA, SSHFC, WHO and other associations and individuals in recognition and appreciation of their immense contribution towards blood donation in The Gambia.