Improving access to safe blood, transfusion services and treatment for thalassemic patients; WHO Maldives partners with and supports Government of Maldives to Launch the National Blood Policy

27th December 2018 – WHO Maldives partnered with and supported Ministry of Health, Government of Maldives and Maldives Blood Services in the development of National Blood Policy which was launched by HE Abdulla Ameen, Hon Minister of Health. Upgrading services for Thalassemia patients especially blood transfusion services are part of His Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s 100-Day Health Pledges. Complimenting Hon Minister and Maldives Blood Services at the launch, WHO Rep noted this as right step to ensure provision of safe, adequate and accessible supply of high-quality blood and blood products to all patients in need of a transfusion. The ceremony was graced by Hon Zuhair, State Ministers of Health, Permanent Secretary Ms Khadeeja, DG-Public Health Ms Maimoona, DG-MFDA Dr Shareefa along with several senior officials from Ministry of Health, Maldives Blood Services and Blood Council and representatives from leading hospitals from public and private sectors.

This launch took place as part of His Excellency President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s 100-day pledge activities to ensure thalassemia patients across the country are able to access medicine and health services at ease from where they reside. Hence the policy will be the basis for developing legislations and necessary guidelines for safe blood transfusion services to fulfill this pledge.

During the ceremony Minister of Health noted the increasing number of thalassemia patients in the Maldives. He highlighted that the government is working towards strengthening blood banks throughout the country and increasing blood banks in the atoll to widen the accessibility. His Excellency Minister also emphasized the effort put in by the government to increase awareness on blood safety, especially by training doctors, nurses and health workers.

“National Blood Policy is prerequisite and the very right first step to ensure the provision of a safe, adequate and accessible supply of high-quality blood and blood products to all patients in need of a transfusion. An important next step for improving accessibility is by mapping of transfusion services throughout the country and establishing a national blood transfusion services database. Goes without saying that such an information system across health facilities and transfusion centers will bring efficiency through better forecasting, coordinating donation drives, planning proper blood banking, blood transfusion and storage services.” said Dr. Arvind Mathur in his speech, “Applauding the efforts of MBS and every health facility in the country; let me candidly reiterate the need for further actions -especially an “Action Plan” for achieving specific deliverable under each of Policy Objective through concerted actions E.g. “Promotion of coordinated voluntary blood donations” or “Encouraging component separation for appropriate and correct clinical use of blood” or “Overall coordinated blood transfusion services” etc. Good news is that together with MBS we already have a draft Action Plan in place which needs to be reviewed and finalized.”

Launch of National Blood Policy by the Government of Maldives is the right step to ensure provision of safe, adequate and accessible supply of high-quality blood and blood products to all patients in need of a blood transfusion. WHO stands committed with the Government of Maldives in providing easy access to safe, quality and efficacious blood and blood products for transfusion; closer to home.

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