Donating blood does not affect one’s health as only those cleared to be medically fit by health personnel are permitted to donate.
Mr Mark Kofi Tetteh, the Programme Coordinator, National Blood Service, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency during a blood donation exercise as part of the Research Scientists Association - Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (RSA-GAEC) week celebration in Accra.
He said in Ghana, the demand for blood within health institutions was much higher than supply.
"Cases like severe anaemia and accidents among others often require immediate blood transfusion in order to save the lives of victims," he said.
Mr Tetteh noted that considering the processes that blood donated went through to be cleared as suitable for transfusion, it was often not possible to save a life when blood was not immediately available during an emergency.
He said even if a donor came in immediately upon an emergency, it would take some time to process the blood, thereby making the chances of saving the patient’s life very little.
Therefore the need to have a well-stocked blood bank to cater for emergencies could not be overstated, he said, and that the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital alone needed 150 to 200 units of blood every day, but which was not met.
“People weighing above 50 kilogrammes and aged between 17 to 60 years are fit to donate and one can donate blood every four months,” Mr Tetteh said.
He said whilst an average human had between 5,000 and 6,000 millilitres of blood, the human body only needed 3,000 to 4,000 millilitres, "and during a blood donation exercise, only 450 millilitres is drawn."
“It is also worth noting that it takes only three days for a person to fully recover blood that had been donated.”
Mr Tetteh urged individuals, organisations and institutions to contribute their quota towards a ready and reliable blood bank to save precious lives.
“If just one per cent of Ghanaians donate blood on a regular basis, that would be sufficient to save lives," he said.
He commended the RSA-GAEC for organising the exercise and urged other organisations to emulate the example.