As the years go by, people’s readiness to donate blood in order to save lives without expecting anything in return seems to be diminishing. The result is that blood banks face a perpetual shortage of safe blood.
Nobody should die just because they are unable to get a blood transfusion promptly, but this is exactly what is happening in our hospitals with disturbing frequency. People’s unwillingness to voluntary donate blood invariably translates into preventable deaths.
When people give blood, the most probable reason is that it is needed by relatives and friends. Many potential donors still think that they deserve something in return when they give blood or are fearful that their HIV status will be disclosed without their consent or knowledge. This is the mindset we should strive to change in order to increase voluntary blood donation.
The Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children is doing a commendable job on this score, but the task of sensitising the mobilising the public should not be left to this particular ministry alone.
Other ministries too can play their part. For instance, the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training can arrange for the importance of voluntary blood donating to be taught at both the primary and secondary education levels. This should go a long way in preparing and nurturing potential donors from an early age.