JICA hands over blood safety technology project to MOH

Christabel Addo, GNA

Accra, Sept. 13, GNA – The Japan International
Cooperation Agency (JICA) on Wednesday, handed over the Ghana Blood Safety
Programme, to the Ministry of Health (MOH) at a ceremony in Accra for its

The event, was to formally bring to an end the
JICA project on the routine use of the Terumo BCT Mirasol Pathogen Reduction
Technology (PRT) System, and the implementation of a Haemovigilance programme
in Ghana.

Dr Justina Kordai Ansah, the Chief Executive
Officer of the National Blood Service Ghana (NBSG), said the programme,
followed the licencing of the Mirasol Whole Blood (WB) system for use by the
Ghana Food and Drug Authority in August 2016, after the African Investigation
of the Mirasol System (AIMS) study was completed in Kumasi in 2014.

The project was then adopted for sponsorship
by JICA in collaboration with the Terumo Corporation of Japan, to support
sustainable Blood Safety by reducing the risk of transfusion reaction with the
implementation of the Mirasol WB system in conjunction with the creation of an
infrastructure for Hemovigilance programme.   

The Technology, she said, ensured protection
against a broad number of pathogens including HIV, hepatitis and malaria, and
the NBSG has since been able to implement the Mirasol PRT technology in the
Southern and Central Blood Centres to provide safer blood for vulnerable
patients both at the Korle-Bu and Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals.

She said the objective of the NBSG was to
provide a reliable, adequate and safe supply of blood nationwide, as the MOH
worked on a Blood Service bill, to back the provision of blood services in the

Dr Ansah said the programme, had seen the
significant training of a number of Ghanaian healthcare professionals in both
Ghana and in Japan for sustainability.

Nana Kwabena Agyei, the Chief Director of the
Ministry of Health (MOH), representing Mr Kwaku Agyemen-Manu, the Minister,
commended the NBSG for conceiving the idea and engaging various partners and
stakeholders to bring it to fruition.

He admitted that the safety, availability and
affordability of blood was key to effective health care delivery and the
attainment of Universal Health Coverage, and appealed to the public to support
voluntary blood donations to enable the NBSG achieve 100 per cent voluntary
unpaid donations by the end of 2020.

He stated saying blood and its components have
been recently added to the seventh edition of the Standard Treatment Guidelines
and Essential Medicines List in Ghana as recommended by the WHO, and pledged
the Ministry’s commitment to championing the use of technologies for improving
health services across the country, with limited risk of infections that could
be transmitted through a blood transfusion.

Nana Agyei said the Ministry was committed to
purchasing 20,000-dollar worth of disposables in 2018, to sustain the
programme, and proceed to expand the programme in 2019 to include; the Northern
Zonal blood centres in Tamale, he said.

He also said a budget of between 300,000 and
400,000 dollars per year, would be allocated for the next five years, to
purchase equipment, disposables and provide maintenance for the installed
equipment to support the sustainability of the programme.

Nana Agyei said Ghana currently collected
approximately 6.1 units of whole blood for every 1,000 inhabitants, which was
just a little over the current estimated minimal need recommended by the WHO,
saying  up to 50 per cent of those who
received  blood transfusions were
pregnant women, postpartum women, children and infants.

Therefore improving blood safety and
sustainability could enable the government meet health targets, including
global goals, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),
antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), and national goals such as maternal and child
health, reduction in transmission of malaria and other communicable diseases or
enabling the possibilities of health tourism.

Mr Koji Tomita, the Deputy Chief of Mission
Counsellor at the Japan Embassy, and Mr Shin Kuroda, the Advisor of Terumo
Corporation in Japan, thanked the collaborators for the success of the project
and urged NBSG to ensure the proper maintenance of the equipment for safe,
effective, and efficient blood supply to Ghanaians.

Mr Tomita assured Ghana of the sustained
support from the Japanese Government both in the health and other sectors of
the country.

Ms Naki Ozawa, Senior Representative of JICA,
said the project was not to merely introduce Japanese equipment to Ghana, but
promote blood safety using well developed technology which had been
scientifically proven to be effective.


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