Health Deputy Minister Liteboho Kompi on Friday launched a new system to improve monitoring blood donations and strengthen the capacity of health practitioners to manage information related to all blood services.
The launch took place in Botšabelo and was attended by US Ambassador to Lesotho, Matthew Harrington, among a host of other dignitaries.
Dubbed the Blood Safety Information System (BSIS), the initiative is designed to track information from the point of blood donation to laboratory testing, processing, storage and distribution for use at health facilities.
Speaking at the BSIS launch, Ms Kompi congratulated the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Lesotho and Ministry of Health staff for the development of the system.
She also expressed gratitude to the American government for its continued support in Lesotho’s fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
“The government-to-government direct agreement with the US for CDC and Ministry of Health Lesotho over the past five years has made an invaluable contribution in scaling up service-delivery that includes National Blood Transfusion Services, TB and HIV diagnosis and treatment monitoring of patients,” Ms Kompi said.
“BSIS will allow better management of blood donations through improved traceability of donors and reduced wastage. BSIS follows good practices in blood safety and will help Lesotho Blood Transfusion Service (LBTS) obtain accreditation with the African Society for Blood Transfusion (AfSBT).”
For his part, Ambassador Harrington said PEPFAR invested more than US$ 4.9 million in strengthening blood safety services in Lesotho.
“With this support, the LBTS has significantly improved the quality of blood services in the country and increased the annual collection of blood from 3000 to 8500 units,” Ambassador Harington said.
“The new LBTS facility was developed through a multi-year collaboration between Jembi Health Systems Incorporated and CDC. The system facilitates the management of donor and blood safety information from the point of donation through the transfer to the hospital settings.”
He said the open source BSIS would be used by LBTS and other national blood services across Africa.
The ambassador also commended LBTS Manager Maleqhoa Nyopa for her leadership in bringing the system to Lesotho.
“I understand the staff have been training very hard on this new system and are anxious to start using it. The blood safety programme in Lesotho is transitioning from one primarily supported by donors to one that is fully supported by government. We encourage the Ministry of Health to move ahead quickly with its commitment to transfer 17 CDC-funded LBTS staff onto the government’s employment roster,” Ambassador Harington said.
He also thanked blood donors, saying “none of this software and none of these systems would work without blood donors, whose donations provide a unique contribution to the health and survival of others.”
“Thank you to all those who donate blood for giving the gift of life,” he said.