ADDIS ABABA -THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD Newspaper 5 May 2016: Health Minister Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu and USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Dennis Weller led a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday to launch construction for the National Blood Transfusion Service Centre at a cost of 5 million USD.
The centre is expected to provide the Ministry of Health with additional capacity to receive donations, screen and process blood products, and distribute life-saving products to serve approximately 26 million Ethiopians.
The 5,300 square meter facility will house the administrative headquarters for blood transfusion services, providing a permanent home for offices, training, meetings, and document storage. One of the primary reasons for strengthening and expanding blood transfusion services in Ethiopia is to reduce the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the blood supply.
The new facility will enable the staff to properly screen blood for HIV and other infections after it is collected.
Speaking at the event, Director Weller said: “A key reason for improving blood transfusion services in Ethiopia is to reduce the number of maternal deaths. Hemorrhaging continues to be one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in Ethiopia, and many of these deaths can be prevented through blood transfusions.”
He commended Ministry’s contributions to the many months of planning, design, and the beginning of the construction of the new Centre.
The capacity of this facility will enable the Ministry to meet more than 25 per cent of the World Health Organization’s recommended annual blood collection goals for Ethiopia. Additionally, the centre will oversee the distribution of blood products, which will expand access to blood transfusion services throughout rural and urban areas of the country.
Planned to be completed in two years time, the construction cost of the centre is covered by US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
BY HAILEGEBRIEL BINIYAM