African First Ladies launch “safe blood” campaign for African women
London, Sep 27, 2019 (AltAfrica)-African First Ladies have launched a campaign to raise awareness and mobilize stakeholders towards ensuring adequate, safe and sustainable blood in Africa, especially for mothers.
Organised by the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), the event took place in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
OAFLAD is a body that brings together the continent’s First Ladies with the objective of forming a united voice for Africa’s most susceptible citizens; women and children, among other causes.
Under the organisation, First Ladies of Africa seek to leverage their unique position to advocate for policies that make health services accessible and legal framework that boost women and youth empowerment.
OAFLAD’s advocacy towards safe blood is part of the efforts towards reducing the high rates of maternal, neonatal and child mortality and morbidity rates in Africa.
A statement from the organisation stressed the importance of blood as a vital healthcare resource most often used to treat pregnancy-related complications in Africa and severe childhood anemia (through sickle cell disease),
“Despite blood and safe transfusion services comprising essential parts of any strong health system, no African country explicitly references blood safety, sustainability or availability in its health programs,” read a statement from the organization,”
Things talked about in the meeting included harnessing technology in blood transfusion services for safety.
Sandrine Umutoni, the Director General of the Imbuto Foundation shared Rwanda’s experience in availing safe and adequate blood, through national initiatives such as the National Centre for Blood Transfusion.
Imbuto Foundation is an initiative by First Lady Jeannette Kagame with an aim to empower the most vulnerable of the Rwandan population through programmes in health, education, youth and economic empowerment.
Umutoni also highlighted other enablers that have ensured safe motherhood in Rwanda including the use of drones to dispatch vital blood to different hospitals in the country, and Universal Healthcare Coverage where over 90 per cent of Rwandans are medically insured.