The Ethiopian government in conjunction with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched the construction of a National Blood Transfusion Service Centre which will provide additional capacity for blood donations, screening and processing of blood products, and distribution of life-saving products to serve approximately 26 million citizens.
The new facility that cost US$ 5m sits on a 5,300 square meter space and will constitute of the administrative headquarters for blood transfusion services which will provide a permanent home for offices, training, meetings, and document storage.
Health Minister Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu and USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Mr. Dennis Weller led a groundbreaking ceremony for the launch and they said that one of the major reasons for the construction was to strengthen and expand blood transfusion services in Ethiopia so as to reduce the prevalence of HIV and AIDS during the blood supply.
“The new facility will make possible for the staff to properly and easily screen blood for HIV and other infections after it is collected,” said Dr. Admasu.
“A primary basis for improving blood transfusion services in this country is so as to reduce the number of maternal deaths. Hemorrhaging continues to be one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in Ethiopia and many of the deaths can be prevented through blood transfusions,” said Mr. Weller.
The major development which is projected to be completed in two years time is being financed by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The capacity of this development will allow the Ministry of Health to meet more than 25 per cent of the World Health Organization’s annual recommended blood collection objective for Ethiopia. Furthermore, the new centre will oversee the distribution of blood products, which will expand access to blood transfusion services throughout rural and urban areas in the country.