A group photo of the Queen Mothers at the workshop

First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has charged all healthy Ghanaians to be champions of change and donate blood to save lives.

She said in times of crisis for the country’s blood banks all citizens must put their shoulders to the wheel and come together to save lives.

Currently, thousands of maternal women, cancer patients, children with sickle cell disease and others who need life-saving blood transfusion are at risk. This is due to an 80% drop in blood collections according to the National Blood Service.

The queen mothers in the country are mobilising to help to improve the situation.

The initiative, known as the ‘Champions of Change’ will create awareness on the critical importance of blood donation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The initiative includes a social media campaign, as well as a one-day workshop on Monday in Accra, organised for the queen mothers.

The workshop delivered tools and strategies around donor recruitment and retention to support queen mothers in their community outreach.

The goal is to help build capacity for safe, available and accessible blood for patients all over the country.

Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies in partnership with the Global Blood Fund are behind the ‘Champions of Change’ initiative in Ghana, lending their expertise and support to bring key stakeholders together to create awareness on the critical importance of blood donation during the crisis.

Approximately 80% of blood collections in Ghana are from students in secondary and tertiary schools and donations mobilized by faith-based organizations.

However, due to the necessary response to curb the spread of COVID-19, schools have been closed and large religious gatherings reduced, leading to 80% fewer blood collections recorded by the National Blood Service.

“We laud the First Lady and queen mothers’ efforts to develop the health infrastructure in your communities and gladly share our global experiences to help craft solutions for you.

“This is part of our commitment to serving in the communities in which we operate,” said Antoinette Gawin, President and CEO, Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies.

“Each of us has nine pints of blood, and it takes only one pint to save a life.”

On his part, Dr Justina Ansah, CEO at the National Blood Service, Ghana (NBSG) said, “We are optimistic that this campaign will reach far and wide for every healthy Ghanaian to make the decision to donate blood to save a life.”

‘Champions of Change’ partners in Ghana include The Rebecca Foundation; the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Foundation; the Institute for Research, Advocacy and Training (INSRAT); and SMART Global.