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Awareness about safe blood transfusion increasing, workshop told

Awareness about safe blood transfusion increasing, workshop told

ISLAMABAD: Because of years of efforts, a large number of people in the country now realise the importance of ‘clean’ blood and they ask health practitioners before any blood transfusion procedure whether or not the blood is safe.

This was stated by Dr Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Coordinator for Safe Blood Transfusion Programme, while speaking at a national workshop titled “Achievements in Safe Blood Transfusion Reforms” on Thursday. The workshop was organised by the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme in collaboration with German donor agency GIZ.

The Safe Blood Transfusion Programme was established by the now-defunct federal ministry of health in 2010. After its establishment a system to regulate blood banks was set up in Islamabad.

Also read: President stresses importance of safe blood transfusion

But unregistered blood banks have been working all over the country. The goal of the programme is to have one department which could look after the process from collection of blood from donors to its supply to patients.

Dr Zaheer said the formulation of the blood policy was a big breakthrough. Managers have been appointed at national and provincial levels and they have been taking steps to regulate the blood transfusion system.

“The blood programme has become the ‘national voice of blood safety’ not only within the country but also internationally,” he said.

He said the pace of the project, initiated in 2010, had picked up over the past two years and now its second phase was about to be launched.

The country director of German implementing agency KfW, Wolfgang Moellers, said that 15 million euros were spent on the first phase of the programme and another 10 million would be spent on its second phase in which further steps would be taken to ensure safety of blood transfusion.

“People deserve better access to safe blood transfusion,” he said.

A representative of non-governmental organisation Devcom, Munir Ahmed, told Dawn after the workshop that public awareness about safe blood transfusion was necessary.

“Although standards for safe blood transfusion have been made but political will is required to implement the standards,” he said, adding that “otherwise all the investment will go in vain”.

“More steps are required for safe blood transfusion. We have made standards but effective use of those standards is required.”

He said awareness sessions should be held in regional centres to spread the message across the country. “Voluntarily blood donation should be ensured all over the country.”

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2015

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