The General Manager of the National Blood Transfusion Centre in Cameroon (CNTS) has lamented over the ignorance and the slow pace at which blood transfusion is known by Cameroonians. In an exclusive interview, Prof. Dora Mbanya revealed the state and location of blood transfusion in Cameroon and its perspectives.
What is the state and location of blood transfusion in Cameroon?
Blood transfusion in Cameroon should normally be a centrally coordinated activity, and it is in 2019 that the Head of State signed a decree to that effect and the first Director General whom I am was only appointed in 2020, and I took service in September. So it has been a very short stay there but what I can tell you is that we still have a long way to go. At the moment, it is less than 25% of blood unit collected from our population based on WHO recommendations, and so the state is not yet up to it but hopefully we will get there. At the moment we are lodged just behind the Red Cross building, but there the centre will be constructed hopefully in 2022 at Carrefour Wada.
What analysis do you make of this inventory?
This was a platform that we called it a coordination platform of all the actors of transfusion in Cameroon. The Etablisement Francais De Sang was there, as zell as other organizations like Expertise France, the World Health Organisation, and the Islamic Development. We were normally supposed to have Safe Blood for Africa, the UNFPA and the CDC, but they were not presented. But however, I think the discussions were very fruitful. It is the very first time the platform is meeting, and I think it is very important that we all concert our energies and our resources towards providing safe and adequate blood for Cameroonians. So I think it was very useful as a platform for discussion.
What will you say about the evolution of blood donation in Cameroon?
Well the culture of donating blood voluntarily is not very inculcated in the Cameroonian and it is just a question of continuous education and sensitization. They are small efforts especially because we have associations. There are now a lot of associations that are supported by the Ministry of Public Health who go out of their way to try to campaign for blood donation and blood collection. So I think with that and with the support from the Minister of Public Health, we can get going. These associations receive about FCFA40 million a year. With these associations coming up and with all what I know the National Blood Transfusion Service too will do as well as with the support we are getting from AFD, Agence Francaise de Development, we will certainly do better. These associations are also giving a lot of support towards mobilizing and sensitizing for blood collection in the country. So I think with all of that we bound to move fort.
What should the nation be expecting from the corporation between the ministry of Public Health and the National Transfusion Program Expertise France, and all those actors involved?
With all the actors put together, the Ministry of Public Health is actually our technical guardian, so they will orientate us from the technical perspectives. We are the operational body and if we were to concert our ideas with all these partners put together, I am sure that the relationship will be strong and positively fruitful for the availability in Cameroon.