Via the Daily Observer: ‘People Afraid of Donated Blood’. Excerpt:
An official of the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the Ebola outbreak in the country has not only caused the deaths of people, but brought uncertainty to other health services that should save lives.
Dr. Samson K. Arzoaquoi made the observation yesterday during a program marking the dedication of the Blood Bank Donation Center on 5th Street in Sinkor. The center contains screening rooms, storage, cold storage and several offices for performing various functions.
Dr. Arzoaquoi emphasized that patients with anemia and maternal related problems die when blood is not available to treat them.
He further noted that accidents cause victims to lose blood, and without a blood donation center, the victims may lose their lives also.
Dr. Arzoaquoi said as a result of the Ebola outbreak, people are afraid to receive donated blood. And with the disease being blood related, it slowed down the activities of the National Blood Safety Program in Liberia.
In spite of the uncertainty caused by the deadly disease, the MOH official said the Ministry will continue the effort to convince the public to accept screened and safe donated blood.
He commended partners including the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for assisting Liberia to overcome health challenges and establish the blood bank.
The National Blood Safety Program Director, Lwopu M. Bruce, said the program was established in 2009 with the responsibility to provide a safe, sufficient and timely supply of blood and blood related products for patients that required transfusion.
The establishment of the National Blood Safety Program, according to Madam Bruce, was meant to transition from paid donation to voluntary and unpaid blood donation.
Since its establishment, the MOH official said 38 major hospitals benefited from blood and blood products from two regional blood banks and donation centers in 2010 and 2011.
In conformity with the mandate for establishing the center, she said all possible steps have been taken to ensure that the blood dispensed is safe and that it will not harm patients when it is transfused.