Former Liberian Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Nathaniel A. Barnes, was among several volunteers who recently donated blood to save lives, particularly children and adults suffering from anemia, malaria and other diseases and are in desperate need of blood transfusion.
June 14 of every year is commemorated as World Blood Donor Day, and the Ministry of Health, through the National Blood Safety Program (NBSP), observed the day by campaigning for blood donors.
Dr. Barnes described it as a worthy cause to donate blood to stop preventable deaths. He pleaded with all ‘healthy and emotionally composed’ citizens to donate blood to save the lives of people who needlessly die on a daily basis across the country due to lack of blood.
He encouraged Liberians to donate blood “To help families, friends or relatives who don’t have money to pay for blood or when the time comes and there is no one around to donate blood.” He backed his call by donating blood.
For his part, the Assistant Minister for Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Samson K. Arzoaquoi, said the two regional blood banks in the country need blood to save lives, and called on volunteers to donate blood.
“The most common medical emergency health care need at all health institutions across the country is the need for blood transfusion,” Dr. Arzoaquoi said. He noted that those who donate blood are very special people that everyone should applaud.
“As we celebrate blood donors’ day let me say a big thank you to all donors and call on them not to stop their sacrificially giving of themselves to see others in need of blood stay alive,” he pointed out.
He said in order for the blood safety program to survive, partners, including WHO, ACCEL, among others, are requesting that there should be a national blood policy.
“As we are here today, somebody is dying because there is no blood and as we are here somebody has died because he or she did not get blood,” he noted, calling on all qualified blood donors to give blood often.
Also making remarks on behalf of the WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Madam Gertrude Mulbah said the theme of the occasion, “What Can You Do? Give Blood. Give Now. Give Often,” goes beyond just thinking about giving blood to relatives and friends.
“If my boss was here today she would have said these words coming from my mouth, ‘Everybody can play a role in an emergency situation by giving blood.’ Blood transfusion is an essential component of emergency healthcare,” Madam Mulbah said.
“As we commemorate World Blood Donor Day, my boss is urging all countries in the region and all stakeholders involved in blood donations to maintain adequate supplies of safe blood. This will allow national blood transfusion services to respond in time to the increase in blood demand, especially during emergencies,” she said.
The program director at the NSBP, Madam Lwopu M. Bruce, said blood donation should be free of charge and voluntary.
“Our campaign is to create sufficient awareness so as to welcome on board many voluntary donors,” Madam Bruce said. She commended six of the donors who, over time, have not hesitated to give blood.
The NSBP certificated Prince G. Gargar, Emmanuel J. Zah, Prince Mahnweh, Winston, Arkie J. Tarr, among others, for donating blood voluntarily and free of charge.