GIS - Dec 13, 2012: A ‘march for blood’ organised by the Blood Donors Association and the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life was held yesterday from Champ de Mars to the Municipality of Port Louis. A group of about 200 persons including the minister of Health and Quality of Life, members of the managing committee of the Blood Donors Association, representatives of blood donor organisations, volunteers and a number of non-governmental organizations participated in the march.
In his address, the minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Lormus Bundhoo, recalled that blood transfusion forms a vital part of modern health care delivery and that availability of safe blood and blood products is a public health responsibility. “Without the availability of safe and tested blood, many medical and surgical procedures would not have been possible. Blood is required for supporting cancer patients, patients undergoing heart and other types of surgery, patients on renal dialysis, patients having hereditary anaemia and women with complicated pregnancies”, he said.
He added that adequacy and safety of blood largely depends on the voluntarism of people to donate blood. In Mauritius blood donation has steadily increased over the years and the number of blood units collected from voluntary blood donors increased from 25% in 1998 to 88% in 2010. In terms of blood units collected per thousand population, Mauritius ranks first in Africa.
Mr Bundhoo expressed his wish to attain the target of 100% voluntary blood donation by encouraging more people, especially the youths to rise to the challenge and become regular dedicated voluntary blood donors. He said that it is crucial to maintain an adequate stock of safe blood and blood products of all blood groups at all times. “The Blood Transfusion Service aims to maintain at least four days stock of safe and tested blood for any emergency. We use an average of 150 pints of blood each day. Therefore a minimum stock of 600 to 625 units of blood should be available at all times”, he pointed out.
To ensure the long term sustainability of the Blood Transfusion Service, the Minister said that it is not only important to recruit new blood donors but also to retain them as regular blood donors. In fact, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life endeavours to retain voluntary donors and encourage them to donate blood more than once. To make blood donation convenient, the Ministry goes towards people rather than waits for them to come to hospitals for blood donation, hence the availability of the mobile caravans for blood collection all over Mauritius.
Speaking about blood safety, Mr Bundhoo recalled that a haemovigilance system has been recently introduced to reduce and remove adverse reactions associated with transfusion of blood products and help the Blood Transfusion Service to further improve the quality of blood products.