The National Association of Voluntary Blood Donors in Sierra Leone on 27th November 2008 organized a press conference at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown on advocacy for free blood donation to the Blood Bank.
In her opening remarks, the head of National Safe Blood Services, Dr. Kadie Yillah said Sierra Leoneans as human beings should be reminded that it is essential for people to voluntarily donate blood to save lives of the needy.
She said blood can neither be manufactured nor bought from other entities except the human body, hence the need to put resources together to promote and enhance blood donation. She vehemently condemned the commercial trade in blood donation. She disclosed that hospitals only ask for service recovery payment to donors. "We are also aware that certain donors and hospitals are in the habit of selling blood to patients, but we are waiting to see those in that inhuman habit to expose them," she said.
She appealed to the media to propagate and promote volunteering blood donation awareness in the country. She lamented on the low voluntary blood donation by Sierra Leoneans. "Our country is the lowest in terms of blood donation in the world which renders our blood banks always nearly empty," she noted.
The Secretary General of the National Association of Voluntary Blood Donors in Sierra Leone, Patrick Massaquoi informed the gathering that they rely on the media at this moment to help disseminate their programmes to help save the lives of many.
He disclosed that they have established sister clubs in all the 12 districts in the country to promote voluntary blood donation.
He said November 25 is set aside each year to celebrate World Blood Donor Day but that they decided to shift the date to Saturday 29th November this year to be able to adequately educate the masses on the importance of the day. "Saturdayís celebration is going to be laudable as it is going to be characterized by dancing and miming competition involving all the clubs all the country," he explained, adding that it would enable donor friends to meet with each other, as well as those who have received blood.
The Blood Donor Recruitment officer, Saio Koroma impressed on the need to call on people to be volunteers. He highlighted some of the criteria involved in donating blood as he appealed to both private and public institutions with resources help develop long term advocacy programmes. He ended on the hopeful note of one day having the opportunity to lobby with government to enact legislation on Voluntary Blood Donation
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.