The NBSG ended its 2016 Annual Performance Review Meeting (APRM) in Accra, with a resolve to increase voluntary blood collection from 60 per cent to 70 per cent in 2017.

The 2-day performance review meeting was held on Wednesday March 15 and Thursday March 16, 2017.

It was under the theme, “Sustained Voluntary unpaid blood donations – an essential intervention for safe reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.”

The 2016 Annual Performance Review meeting was attended by various stakeholders including all major allied partners in the health sector.

The event  was chaired by Dr. Mrs. Sylvia Boye, Chairperson of the National Blood Committee.

Heads of the Area Blood Centres (Southern, Central and Northern) made presentations on the performances of their respective centres.

The presentations revealed a marked improvement in voluntary blood collections and also indicated areas that need further improvement.

Chief Executive Officer of the National Blood Service, Ghana (NBSG) Dr. Justina Kordai Ansah, presented an overview of the performance of the NBSG in the year under review. She stated that the mandate of the Service would be enhanced if parliament expedited action on the passage of the Blood Service Bill, which is currently at cabinet level.

According to Dr. Justinah Kordai Ansah, the Service is finding it difficult to enforce and implement most of its policies, particularly in the area of effective coordination of programmes through its national approach due to the delay in the passage of the bill.

She was however hopeful that the Government will speed up the process of the passage of the bill to enable the NBSG improve upon its service delivery.

She recognized the contribution of staff and stakeholders in delivering the mandate of NBSG over the years, which according to her, has brought significant improvement to the operations of the service at all levels.

For her part, Dr. Lucy Asamoah-Akuoko, Head of Research and Development of the NBSG did a presentation on “evidence-based approach to increasing the blood donor population in Ghana”.

She noted that donor education must be strengthened to increase awareness about voluntary blood donation, a situation according to her, when given the needed attention, will go a long way to increase voluntary donor population and reduce family replacement system, which is currently lingering around 64% nationwide.

The Head of the Central Area Blood Centre (CABC), Dr. Shirley Owusu-Ofori, who presented the overview of the Centre’s performance, stated that the CABC was able to exceed its target of 60% voluntary blood collection for 2016 (It achieved 65%).

Dr. Owusu-Ofori mentioned inadequate funding and logistical constraints as some of the challenges impeding their operations.

Participants, during discussions admitted that the problem is not peculiar to Ashanti alone, but to Southern and the Northern Area Blood Centres.

The Northern Area Blood Centre head, – Professor, Dr. Juventus Ziem, requested for adequate staff to enable them collect more blood to serve the people in the area.