From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Sierra Leone Voluntary Blood Donors Cry of Neglect
By Aruna Turay
Jun 21, 2010, 14:22

Blood Donors from the National Association of Voluntary Blood Donors Club in Sierra Leone have expressed dissatisfaction over what they described as a wilful attempt to neglect them from the recently launched free health care service for pregnant women, lactating mothers and under five children.

According to President, National Association of Voluntary Blood Donors Club Mr. Desmond Lewis (aka Tiger), the best gift a man can give to another is a drop of his own blood. In effect he went on, any individual who sacrifices a drop of his blood to save another manís life must be considered a hero and hailed high among others in any society. According to Mr. Lewis, the National Association of Voluntary Blood Donors comprises of voluntary blood donors from the length and breadth of Sierra Leone. He said these are members who have chosen to voluntarily donate four litres of their own blood per year without any reward of any nature. He said bloods donated by these members are collected and saved in the National Blood Service Bank for the use of those who might need blood in emergency surgical cases, such as pregnant women, children, those involved in terrible accidents, amongst others. He stressed that these blood donors are giving out litres of their own precious blood to save the lives of people whom in most cases they donít even know or have never come across in their life time.

The Donors President states that there would not have been any successful free medical health care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and under five children without the existence of these voluntary blood donors. Mr. Lewis revealed that in terms of use, these categories of beneficiaries form the integral section of users of these donated bloods, especially in time of delivery.

Expressing dismay as to how they were wilfully neglected from the free medical service, Mr. Lewis disclosed that when His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma was officially launching the free health service, none of the speakers in that ceremony including President Koroma said a single word in recognition of the National Association of Voluntary Blood Donors, neither were they called upon to say a word throughout the planning and launching ceremonies of the service.

As if that is not enough, even the funds allocated for the service does have a single cent of it allocated to the blood donors. Sympathetically, according to Tiger, even though these members are giving voluntary blood to the nation, the blood service bank in Sierra Leone where donors go to donate is suffering from logistics such as funding to upkeep the blood, provision to voluntary blood donors, needles, syringes, blood bags, amongst other constraints.

Expressing fear that if this issue is not addressed as urgent as possible by President Koroma, most of the club members would stop donating blood, President Lewis used this forum to call on President Koroma to look into the plight of these voluntary blood donors who donate parts of their lives to save another and solve this issue before all of his members starts fading away.

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