GIS - 02 October, 2013: A workshop to discuss the revised Blood Donor Questionnaire opened this morning at La Cannelle, Domaine Les Pailles, in the presence of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Lormus Bundhoo. Around 70 representatives from the Blood Transfusion Service (BTS), Haemovigilance committee, Non-Governmental Organisations as well as blood organisers were present.
The aim of the workshop is to validate the revised donor questionnaire and information materials. The donor questionnaire, which all donors need to fill in prior to blood donation, is a critical tool in selection of safe blood donors. The BTS has revised the donor questionnaire so as to reinforce blood safety, provide appropriate information to all existing and potential donors and to get rid of any type of discrimination towards any individual or group.
Risk assessment and management in transfusion; transfusion transmissible infections; HIV prevalence in Mauritius; and donor selection criteria and their relevance in blood safety are some of the themes that will be discussed during the workshop.
In his address, Mr Bundhoo said that that blood donors remain the most important players in ensuring blood safety, adding that it is the obligation of the BTS to educate and inform the public on the risks associated with blood donation and to ensure a safe blood transfusion.
“However it is also the duty of a blood donor to be truthful in assessing his/her own risk behaviour. Blood donation is a voluntary act and anyone who feels that his/her blood donation may jeopardise the safety may choose not to donate blood”, he said.
The Minister pointed out that blood donation is a vital part of a modern health care delivery and the availability of safe blood and blood products is a public health responsibility. He recalled that blood can also be a vehicle for many infections which can be potentially transmitted to the patient through the transfusion process. In that context, the BTS and the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life have taken necessary measures to provide blood in adequate quantity and in a timely manner and minimise the risks through transfusion.
These measures include the provision of adequate information to the potential donors on risks of transfusion transmitted infections, procedures for selecting safe blood donors, appropriate screening of all donated blood; and the provision of guidelines to all clinicians on appropriate use of blood.
Mauritius has a well-organised BTS with quality systems in all areas to ensure a safe and effective use of blood. Furthermore, a Haemovigilance system has been recently introduced to reduce and remove adverse reactions associated with transfusion of blood products and help the BTS to further improve the quality of blood products.
Facts and Figures
In 2012, screening of collected blood revealed that among the blood donors 16 were HIV positive, 117 were positive for Hepatitis C and 34 were positive for Hepatitis B. There were also 49 donors who were positive for syphilis. All these donors who are tested positive for these infections were called back for counselling and were referred for further medical care. From January to June 2013, the BTS has collected 27 812 units of blood.
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