By Bridget Shumba
The Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS) has appealed to the communities to donate blood in large numbers as schools, which contribute 72% of the collected blood, near closure.
According to statistics from MBTS, 72% of blood donations are from secondary students, 14.4% from self-employed individuals, 6.5% are from those employed and the remaining percentage from unemployed individuals.
MBTS Laboratory officer, Thom Mfune, said when schools close for holidays there is a wider gap because a huge percentage is removed from the donations which causes inadequate supply of blood to those in need of blood transfusions.
He then called upon the communities to take up the responsibility of addressing blood shortages and promoting the transfusion practice in Malawi.
“The community ought to partake in blood donation considering that we never know who the next recipient will be .Saving a life through blood donation is the greatest love one can show the other”.
He further enlightened that MBTS plays its role by partnering with District Health Offices and other stakeholders in engaging the communities.
“To this far, the response from the communities has been positive but gradual since it is engulfed with myths and misconceptions of blood donation.
Communities’ response to voluntary non-remunerated blood donation messages varies from one to the other. Some have notably responded surpassing expectations whilst others have not due to cultural and religious beliefs and gaps in their knowledge of the blood donation concept”.
MBTS is a government trust with a delegated mandate from the Ministry of Health to collect screen, process and supply blood and blood products to public, Christian and Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) and private hospitals authorized to carry out blood transfusions across the country.