Pachi reach out for blood donation

A local NGO, Parent And Child Health Initiative (PACHI) has engaged rural communities on the blood donation exercise  to complement the Malawi Blood Transfusion Services (MBTS) initiative of reaching out to secondary and college students.

Hilda Chapota, PACHI Project Coordinator.

Hilda Chapota, PACHI Project Coordinator.

Some of the blood donors being briefed at MBTS offices

Some of the blood donors being briefed at MBTS offices

The model is a component of Social Mobilization and Accountability Project which is in 12 districts, Mzimba south and north, Mangochi, Zomba, Thyolo and Lilongwe rural.

On Thursday, PACHI organized a tour for blood diners from TA Chitukula, Lilongwe to MBTS offices and Bwaila district hospital.

“The tour was organized to give our rural blood donors a picture on how their blood is treated from the time of donation to MBTS and finally to the hospitals. As you know, there are a lot of perceptions out there on blood donation some which associate it with satanic rituals and many things. This contributes to dwindling numbers of blood donors.

“So our aim is to increase the blood  base in rural communities by turning them into ambassadors once they familiarize themselves with the process as we want a lot of people to start donating blood,” said PACHI Project Coordinator Hilda Chapota.

She added, “As you know, children nowadays start school at a very tender age therefore by the time they reach graduate to secondary level, they are still young and not in the blood donation age group something which contributes to low blood collected by MBTS, so we want to fill that gap.”

According to Lilongwe Blood Transfusion Service Head James Palapandu, MBTS has a target of 80000 units of blood collection per year but only manages to collect 50000units.

“We only have districts campaigns through open days, clusters where a number of schools meet and we are intensifying media campaigns as one way of expanding our blood doner base.

“With PACHI Project there is we have seen some improvement as a lot of people from the rural areas are now donating blood,” he said.

In Lilongwe rural, PACHI had targeted 150 units during the last exercise but managed to get 90 units, which are shared between MBTS and Bwaila District hospitals.

TA Chitukula Blood Donation Committee Chairperson Frackson Mamba hailed PACHI for the tour saying it’s an eye opener.

“We have had problems to convince our fellows as there are a lot of things associated with blood donation. Some say it’s related to satanic rituals while other say that the blood is sold once collected. Now, we will go back and teach them the whole process and the importance of donating blood which save a lot of lives, some of them our own relations,” he said.

Currently, Malawi is hit by blood shortage in the country’s main hospitals.

Recently, Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH)- the country’s second largest referral facility— public relations officer Mable Chinkhata confirmed that thousands of people in need of blood risk dying following the depletion of the hospital’s blood bank.

The paper reports that the development has forced medics at the facility to start rationing, giving just a pint (450millilitres-ml) to an adult in need of blood and 300ml to children in a similar situation regardless of how much blood they need.

Chinkhata said the hospital is giving blood to “patients who really need blood and also those who need blood on emergency cases only.”

She said their only source of getting blood is through Malawi Blood Transfusion Service [MBTS].

PACHI was set up in 2009 as part of a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award for population based surveillance for maternal and new-born health in Malawi, Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

PACHI is committed to providing maternal and child health through sustainable, innovative and evidence-based programmes and interventions, capacity building and research.

As an initiative, PACHI seeks to influence policy making, service delivery, and community engagement and involvement for sustainable programmes and interventions to reduce morbidity and mortality for mothers and children

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