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The price of accessing blood


Ntsoaki Motaung

Lesotho Blood Transfusion Service (LBTS) supported by the First National Bank (FNB) Lesotho, Domestic Workers Association of Lesotho, and Blood for Live Donor Club joined the global community in commemorating World Blood Donor Day, celebrated annually on June 14.

The theme for this year was “Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often.”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said the day is commemorated to raise awareness of safe blood and blood products, such as plasma, and highlight the critical contribution of voluntary, unpaid blood donors to save lives.

Moeti stated that blood collection remained low at an average donation rate of 5.9 units per 1000 people compared to 33.1 donations per 1000 people in high-income countries.

“Of concern is the financial barrier to accessing safe blood. In the WHO Africa Region, patients pay, on average, US$ 42 out of pocket to access safe blood,” she said.

She indicated that results from a survey conducted in 2022 revealed that 16 countries out of 39 that took part in the survey, had more than 80 percent of voluntary non-remunerated blood donation (VNRBD), and 19 countries had less than 50 percent of voluntary non-remunerated blood donation.

30 countries reported that plasma-derived medicinal products were listed on their essential medicines list.

According to Moeti, the statistics revealed that there was a need for more work to be done in the African region to improve access to safe blood and blood products.

In an interview with Newsday, Khotso Kalake from LBTS highlighted the importance of donating blood and saving lives.

Kalake said they were trying to strengthen campaigns about blood donation to provide education as well as to collect enough blood.

He indicated that they are also working hand in hand with the Ministry of Health to spread education about blood donation.

Khoabane Chapi, the founder of the Blood for Live Donor Club, indicated that initiatives towards blood donations seemed not to bring much impact because of the lack of support especially financially.

He said this year, his club was celebrating World Donor Day under the theme “One nation, one life united through bloodline.”

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