2020 World AIDS Day – SAA Activity

2020 World AIDS Day – SAA Activity

In commemoration of World AIDS Day 2020, the Society for AIDS in Africa, the custodian, and organizer of the largest HIV/AIDS Conference in Africa; the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) embarked on a Blood donation exercise. The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) which headquarters is based in Accra since 2009, embarked on the blood donation exercise to support and strengthen the health system in Ghana amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not new, as part of the community activity of SAA in Ghana, the World AIDS Day was first organized in December 2018 to educate, screen, and counsel the community members with regards to HIV/AIDS and emerging viral diseases; 100 people were screened and tested. In July 2020, an outreach programme for Adolescents Orphans HIV+ for Resilience during COVID-19 Pandemic in partnership with UNFP Ghana and the Canadian Government. SAA distributed 100 dignity kits in the Greater Accra Hospitals and Testing Centre.

In line with the activity we are conducting today, in 2020 World Blood Donor Day celebrations in October, the former Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) Ghana reiterated that in the African region, countries had made significant progress to improve the availability and access to safe and quality assured blood and blood components. However, recent statistics have shown an alarming decline in blood donations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is in this regard that the Society for AIDS in Africa, to commemorate 2020 World AIDS Day, in collaboration with 37 Military Hospital and other key stakeholders, embarked on a safe blood donation exercise.

The exercise began around 7:00 AM. Buses were made available by SAA to convey participants from their various destinations in the Greater Accra and Tema to the 37 Military Hospital. On arrival, all participants underwent the usual COVID-19 protocols as prescribed by the 37 Military Hospital and proceeded to the blood bank for the donation exercise. 34 participants turned out for the blood donation exercise. 11 out of the total were eligible to donate.

The participants were refreshed as they continued with the medical screening under the supervision of the Military Medical Staff of the 37 Military Hospital Blood Bank. Successful screened participants were directed to the blood retrieval bay set up in front of the Blood bank.  After which, they were given some dignity kits.

During this process, our media partners Obonu FM were transmitting live from the 37 Military hospital blood bank. They engaged all stakeholders at the event. They interviewed Mr. Luc Armand Bodea, the ICASA Director and Coordinator of the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA). He gave a brief background of SAA and highlighted the day’s event. He encouraged all listeners to pass by the 37 Military Hospital to donate blood to save a life. To lead by example, he encouraged all his staff and the general public in Accra to come and join us to donate and save lives.

Mr. Luc Armand Bodea, the ICASA Director and Coordinator of SAA

The next interview was with Mr. Cosmos Ohene-Adjei, Director of Policy and Planning, Ghana AIDS Commission. He was elated to grace this occasion on behalf of the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission. He stated that it was a great pleasure that the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) has been invited to be part of the Blood donation exercise. He also shared light on the importance of blood donation and encouraged everyone to pass by the hospital to be part of this ongoing blood donation exercise.

Mr. Cosmos Ohene-Adjei, GAC
Mr. Muntari Goro Iddrisu, UNFPA Ghana
Mr. Muntari Goro Iddrisu, UNFPA Ghana

Mr. Muntari Goro Iddrisu, representing the Country representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ghana was happy to be part of this all-important event. He stated that he had gone through the screening process and proceeded to donate blood.

Lt. Prince Aminamah, Medical Laboratory Scientist, 37 Military Hospital blood bank during his interview tried to demystify some of the rumours normally associated with blood donation and assured the Ghanaian people the blood is used to save lives.

To reward our donor participants, there was a raffle for which two winners would win a full scholarship to attend ICASA 2021. To conduct this raffle, Mr. Luc Armand Bodea, ICASA Director called on the Commandant of the 37 Military blood bank, Major Kwasi Boaheng (Head of Department of Blood Bank/Serology), and the Director of Policy and planning, Ghana AIDS Commission, Cosmos Ohene-Adjei to partake in the raffle. Successful donors were issued with numbers to partake in the raffle draw. All the numbers were retrieved and put in a raffle box for the random selection process to take place. Mr. Ohene-Adjei drew the first cast. Major Kwasi Boaheng also picked the final cast.

From left: Mr. Cosmos Ohene-Adjei (Ghana AIDS Commission), Mr. Charles Adjetey Otinkorang (Award Winner), Mr. Mohammed Abdul (Award Winner), Major Kwasi Boaheng (Head of Department of Blood Bank/Serology) and Mr. Luc Armand Bodea (ICASA Director/SAA Coordinator)

They then proceeded to announce the winners. Mr. Charles Adjetey Otinkorang and Mr. Mohammed Abdul emerged the winners of the competition. They will be entitled to a full scholarship to attend ICASA 2021 from 6 – 11 December 2021.

Mr. Luc Armand Bodea, ICASA Director/SAA Coordinator thanked all partners, participants as well as the medical staff of the 37 Military Blood bank that took time outside of their various schedules and despite the associated challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic to partake in such a worthy cause. He emphasized that this exercise would go a long way in saving lives and added that the Society for AIDS in Africa would be back next year.

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