The Malawi Blood Transfusion Services (MBTS) has attributed its failure to collect the required 80 000 units of blood each year to fear by most Malawians to know their HIV status and the belief that donating blood leads to impotence.
It has also blamed some religious groupings which regard blood donation as a sin before God.
MBTS Trustee Robert Mdeza, made the remarks on Saturday during the launch of this year’s blood donation awareness week at Bvumbwe Research Station ground in Thyolo.
The awareness week will be held under the theme ‘Blood Shortage. Let’s Stop It!’, from November 30 to December 5.
Said Mdeza: “When you go to visit a friend or relative at a hospital, you clearly see how people are suffering due to lack of blood. But what disappoints the most people do not want to donate blood.
“We cannot continue doing this as a country. I don’t think that God can punish someone for donating blood to save lives, we must change now and everybody must come forward. ”
According to Mdeza, MBTS collects an average of 52 000 units of blood each year and 80 percent of this blood is donated by youths aged between 16 and 25 years. Individuals from 16 to 65 years are eligible to donate blood.
He said MBTS has earmarked to collect 10 000 units of blood during this year’s awareness week, blood that will carter for the festive season which requires a lot of blood due increased cases of road accidents.
The Unites States’ Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Malawi is supporting the awareness week with finances. Its project officer, Dr Abdoulaye Sarr, hailed students from various schools in the country for their tirelessness in donating blood.
“A safe and adequate blood supply starts with blood collection and ends with using the blood to save lives. Let’s all do our part to get the word out, this is national blood donation awareness week and a wonderful opportunity to selflessly give where there is a clear need from all Malawians,” he said.