According to World Health Organisation, African countries, including Ethiopia, continue to experience severe shortages of blood and blood products, resulting in many preventable deaths each year, particularly of women and children. Blood donation and thus blood collection in these countries remains very low: currently only 6 units of blood per 1,000 people are collected, far below the 33 units of blood per 1,000 people collected in more developed countries.
To ensure the availability of safe blood in Ethiopia, particularly in the Gambella region, Doctors with Africa Cuamm has distributed medical and non-medical supplies, financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation within the project “RECEIVE- Refugees Empowerment through Care, Education and Income Vital Economy”, implemented together with the non-governmental organizations VIS and CEFA. 7 blood collection chairs, a 630 ml refrigerator for storing the blood bags, and consumables used for blood screening, for a total value of 1.7 million birr (about 28,300 euro).
“Blood donation – recalls Daniel Frehun, Area Co-ordinator for the CUAMM – is a precious and fundamental act that can help save the lives of many people who have been injured, have infections and undergo surgery. Especially in a region with a large influx of refugees, a high prevalence of malaria and frequent conflicts, we know how precious every single drop of blood can be. Nowadays, children and pregnant women with severe anaemia and obstetric complications are transferred to another region due to the lack of safe blood in the Gambella region; being a regular donor will help to ensure adequate blood supplies in a sustainable manner, thus addressing the major challenges related to this issue”.
During the handover ceremony, the representative of the Gambella Regional Health Office, the representative of the Director of Maternal and Child Health Services, and the Director of the Gambella Blood Bank expressed gratitude for the support. The day ended with a voluntary blood donation by those present, further demonstrating the recognition of the importance and value of this practice.