A clarion call has been made for the fee charged for processing blood to be covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Stakeholders in the blood service believe the fee – about GH¢120 – if covered by the NHIS would remove the financial barrier to blood accessibility and encourage voluntary blood donation.
They made the observation during the discussion session of a public lecture organized by the National Blood Service as part of activities to commemorate this year’s World Blood Donor Day themed: “Blood Donation and Universal Access to Safe Blood Transfusion, as a Component of achieving Universal Health Coverage.”
Ken Ashigbey, Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications who is passionate about voluntary blood donation, said it was an indictment on the country for people to be dying because of the unavailability of blood products.
He said the country would be able to meet its blood needs if as low as one percent of the population decided to voluntarily donate blood.
Voluntary blood donation in Ghana currently stands at 37 per cent as against the projected figure of 50 per cent by the National Blood Service.
Mr. Ashigbey called on civil society to take action and champion the passage of the Blood Service Bill which is currently with the Ministry of Health.
“We don’t want to wait like we did for the Right to Information Bill (RTI) so Mr. President please make sure this bill is passed, if not we will make it a campaign topic,” he said.
Dr. Justina K. Ansah, CEO of National Blood Service, touching on the Blood Service Bill added that the law would give legal backing to help nail practitioners who breach the rules of engagement with regard to how they handle blood.
She said “when there is a policy and it’s not backed by law, it is like having the document there but it’s the law that gives it hands and feet. It gives it teeth to be able to bite.”
“So, we need the law to also help us when people have done things that they need to be reprimanded for and all that,” she added.
She noted that “a lot of the guidelines are documented, but if you have a law backing you, then if somebody is not going according to the standards, the person can be held for not conforming to the standards.”