Several patients to benefit from blood component therapy
SIERRA LEONE, Freetown: The Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) is focused on voluntary non-remunerated blood donor which means that a person gives blood, plasma or cellular components for free.
In modern medical treatments, patients may receive a pint of whole blood or just the specific components of the blood that are needed to treat their particular condition. This approach to treatment, Minister Austin Demby said is referred to as blood component therapy, which allows several patients to benefit from one pint of donated whole blood.
Speaking at the Ministry of Information and Communications Annual Media/CS0 Engagement 2021, he explained that transfusable products such as red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate, typically, two or three of these are produced from a pint of donated whole blood, hence each donation can help save up to three lives.
Blood can be used whole, or separated into its component parts as stated above that can be used to treat a wide range of diseases.
Globally, transfusions of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year, including during emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters and child birth. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life and supports complex medical and surgical procedures.
Minister Demby said that as a ministry they are looking at ‘blood safety’ which is an important vulnerability in the country and that they have a center at Kerry Town and are trying to make it functional.
“We are looking at making blood service in the country a voluntary service, so that one unit of blood could be serving more than one person not as it is traditionally done one to one. We have a plasma separator at PCMH and we want to replicate it across the country” he said.
On the free health care services being provided by government, he said that they have consistently improved contribution towards those services in the country in a bid to minimise stock out.
Minister Demby highlighted the challenge they are having with COVID-19, saying that the only treatment is oxygen therapy, and that they are looking at installing oxygen capabilities in facilities.
“We have installed such facilities at Connaught, Makeni, Bo, and Kenema is ready to be commissioned. It will be helpful in our response not only to COVID-19, but babies and pregnant women also require it and other patients. So we want it available, so we have a national network that will allow these to be available. We rehabilitating major hospitals such as the one at Waterloo and oxygen capabilities will be included” he said.
The Ministry is working with DSTI to have an App that will be available to them to register pregnant women by making sure that they have the capabilities to monitor that pregnant woman, look for high risk pregnancies that they will set aside and make sure that they get the care they need.
He said that their focus going forward will be on patient centered care, starting with designing programs for pregnant women, their services, indicators and targets they will set themselves, funding envelope, self-evaluation on maternal mortality figures and follow up on pregnancy before, during and post-delivery.
The ministry he said is faced with financing, health information systems and human resources challenges, they are currently staffed with 475 doctors and about 150 of those doctors are in administration. “Our university only produce 50 doctors a year, we need 5,000 doctors in this country to be able to manage 8 million people, so producing 50 doctors a year it will take 100 years provided nobody retires or dies” he said.
He added, “We are trying to convince Professor Alpha Wurie on how do we transform that, we will have something visible soon that will lead us to 2023 and beyond, lots of nurses, we want to provide more SRN going forward.”
At Kerry town a 150 bed hospital has been built with endoscopy, X-rays, MRI, CT scans and national blood bank services. They are now looking at flats for doctors and nurses, multipurpose warehouse with a size of 700 square meters that will able to manage drug supply and make sure they have adequate distribution. ZIJ/2/12/2021
By [email protected]