Blood donation drive in Lilongwe on Saturday – Global Health Corps

The Global Health Corps (GPC) has partnered the Malawi Blood Transfusion Services (MBTS) in a blood donation drive to take place at Game Stores Complex Car Park in Lilongwe tomorrow, Saturday 13 June.

Global Health Corps Alumni fellows with Kumwembe and Program Manager
Global Health Corps Alumni fellows with Kumwembe and Program Manager

This comes at a time Malawi joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Blood Donor Day which falls on 14 June, focusing on the youth.

“As a group of passionate individuals who play an active role in promoting health equity and access, the [GHC] alumni committee in Malawi has planned to have a blood drive event to mobilize people to donate blood,” disclosed GHC Programs and Operations Associate Isabel Kumwembe.

The organization observes that blood transfusion remains an essential part of the health delivery system of any country.

MBTS recently sounded an alarm as they announced thatMalawi has been hit by massive blood shortages which have led to hospitals losing lives.

“Low blood supply in the blood banks has led to the loss of lives in many of the public hospitals. The alumni committee decided to host a blood drive to not only encourage people to donate blood, but also to raise awareness of the issue,” said Kumwembe.

The Global Health Corps is an institution that groups young professionals from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds and places them in health non-profits and government offices.

“As passionate and dedicated change makers, we often think that the route to improving the healthcare system is a complex one. Sometimes however, there are simple things that we can do that can have a massive positive effect on the system as a whole,” she explained further. “This blood drive is one of those simple things that has the potential to save many lives.”

“If you know of anyone who is in Malawi, please encourage them to come. When it comes to donating blood, we need you, your family members, relations, friends, colleagues, workmates,” she appealed, while disclosing they were prepared for over 100 donors during the drive in Lilongwe.

On the sideline of the blood donation, the GHC is expected to have an information desk where people can also volunteer. The drive is expected to start at 9am to 4pm.

Malawi needs 320 units of blood on daily basis to help patients running out of blood, and needs 80,000 units of blood every year, according to Dr Jean Kalilani, Malawi’s Minister of Health.

However, only 35,000 units are donated. That means 45,000 people could likely die every year due to lack of blood.

Voluntary non-remunerated blood donation is currently 60 percent against 80 percent, the World Health Organization(WHO) African Region target set in 2004 to be attained by 2012.

WHO estimates that a minimum of one percent of a population is required to donate blood in order to provide the most basic of blood transfusion services, which according to officials, Malawi is far from achieving this target.

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