Over 100 international guests ascended to Rwanda to celebrate the World Blood Donor Day and at the colourful event, 15 national and international donors plus 15 institutions were awarded for their role in saving lives through giving blood. Rwanda becomes the second African Country to host World Blood Donor Day (WBDD), following South Africa 15 years ago. World Health Organisation chose Rwanda to host the 2019 WBDD at global level in order to raise awareness that safe and sufficient blood supply is important in many key public health programs in Africa. WBDD is celebrated annually on June 14, this year’s global theme is “Safe Blood for All” and will see over 100 international participants attend.
Through the Rwanda National Center for Blood Transfusion (NCBT), a Division of Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), Rwanda has made tremendous success in line with blood donation. The progress includes; providing safe and adequate blood through a well-organized, national blood systems as an integral part of the national health-care policy, implementation of a Quality Management System (QMS) which led to Rwanda’s earning of the top-most Step 3 accreditation from Africa Society for Blood Transfusion and ensuring safe blood for all patients by using unmanned drones to transport blood supplies to remote areas. “The National Blood service has registered several achievements, like the automated separation of blood components to provide patients with only the components they need,” affirmed Patrick Ndimubanzi, State Minister for Primary and Public Health.
“Rwanda now embarks on ensuring we sustain the gains, this is why we introduced unmanned drones to deliver blood supply,” he added.
On behalf of WHO D.G., Dr Tedros, the WHO Representative, Dr Kasonde Mwinga, delivered WHO speech dedicated to the WBDD and a video was also aired. “I wish to thank all voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and encourage them to continue this noble gesture on a regular basis to ensure the continued availability and access to safe, quality assured blood and blood components for all patients”, said Dr Kasonde.
Guests had a lot to learn from Rwanda’s blood services and were amused by the systematic blood safety and collection method.
“Rwanda blood service is so impressive and has made huge strides to be one of the leading African blood services in the space of 5 years,” said Judith Chapman, The International Society of Blood Transfusion.
Meanwhile, the paramount importance of blood donation was the highlight of the day.
“Donating blood is not an easy task but it’s worth it and a sure way to save lives for example women who die because they lack blood during birth,” advised international donor Arjun Mainali. He has donated blood 171 times.
“The more blood I give, I get the urge to save more lives. Blood can be needed by anyone, it could be your mother, sister or friend, donation is a noble cause,” said Jean Rwagasore a Rwandan who has donated over 87 times.
“Being given blood from someone I don’t know, somewhere in Rwanda has given me life and enabled me to raise my daughters,” said Christine Rwivanga, a blood recipient.
World Blood Donor Day 2019 activities in Rwanda mobilized the general population, particularly young people to begin donating blood regularly. World Blood Donor Day celebration brings a precious opportunity to national and global level donors to commemorate the birthday of the Karl Landsteiner (a great scientist who won the Nobel Prize for his great discovery of the ABO blood group system).
WBDD was established in 2004 and it serves to thank voluntary, unpaid donors for their life- saving gift of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need worldwide. World Blood Donor Day is one of main official global public health campaigns marked by World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health Day, World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Hepatitis Day and World AIDS Day.