BLOOD DONATION: A CURATED MEANS TO LIMIT POSTPARTUM AND INFANT MORTALITY IN CAMEROON
In 2017, the global blood need was 304.711.244, and the global blood supply 276.698.494 blood product units, with a need-to-supply ratio of 1:10 approximately. These figures according to the World Health Organization haven’t shortened. Approximately 118 million persons donate blood annually, of which 40% of donations come from high income countries. In less developed nations, especially in sub-Sahara Africa, the demand is also felt, as child account for over 54% of all blood transfusion. The story line is no different in Cameroon. According to the ministry of public health, the national blood need stands between 400.000-500.000. Annually, roughly 120.000-140.000 blood units are donated. This exponential gap has created an unprecedented shortage in blood supply across the national territory. The most vulnerable remain pregnant women and infants. Even though donation stands low, it remains the surest means to limit postpartum and infant mortality in Cameroon.
On June 14-16, 2022, the Development and Emergency Relief Initiative (DERI) in partnership with the Yaounde Global Shapers Community and The YALI regional programme Accra-Cameroon alumni organized a joint #Blood4All campaign organized at the University of Yaounde I- Ngoa Ekelle. The hospital chosen to partner with us wasn’t a fruit of guess work. In reality the Yaounde Gyneco-Obstretrics and Paediatrics hospital specialises in the treatment of women and children. One of DERI’s priority areas of intervention is that focused on nutrition, good health and women’s rights. The postpartum death rate in Cameroon sits at 500 deaths per 100.000 live births, half due to postpartum haemorrhage. With the blood unit shortages in hospitals, it’s just but normal that at such critical hours, needing emergency action, over 500 women/mothers lost their lives. This accounts for why our action and choice was tilted towards the aforementioned hospital. After two days of onsite sensitization and one day of blood donation, over seventy seven volunteers showed up to donate blood. The consciously and awareness of this action is the first step towards achieving this goal of ours. Our call to action is that persons in good health conditions should manifest further action by donating blood atleast thrice per year to meet national demand.
Our goal is to create an atmosphere of safety and conviviality for every pregnant women and children, while ensuring that their basic human rights are respected. We aim at closing the gap in blood demand: blood supply ratio in the nation, but also to partner with organizations to ensure that our objectives are met both in the short and long term.