The problem of empty blood banks continues to plague Ghanaian hospitals, and while attention is focused mainly on the bigger hospitals like Korle Bu, there are numerous other facilities experiencing the same, and even worse problems. An example of such a facility is the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital, Mampong in the Eastern Region of Ghana. MHC was privileged to have a chat with one of the doctors at Tetteh Quarshie Memorial, Dr. Sarah Atunah-Jay, MD MPH. She is an American but has found herself in Ghana through her husband, who is a Ghanaian.
In the interview, she stated that the hospital is constantly without blood in its blood bank. She cites the ever-common story of patients having to go and find family members or friends as possible donors. She gave an account of a child who was on the verge of death because there was no blood in the blood bank, but they were fortunate to have a student physician assistant who heard about the child’s ordeal and happened to be a matching blood type and he volunteered to donate blood, eventually saving the life of the child. This, she feels, is the epitome of a true healthcare provider, someone who is willing to go beyond his or her intellectual capacity and give more of themselves to save a life.
She encourages and implores everyone to make the effort to donate blood regularly to keep the blood banks at capacity and to save the lives of those who need blood at critical moments.
Dr. Sarah Atunah-Jay, MD MPH.