Blood Bank a ship without a captain-Audit
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By Nicole Tau
Lesotho’s Blood Transfusion Services (Blood Bank) is faced with structural issues, non-functional regional blood banks, and shortage of staff among core challenges crippling its ability to collect adequate blood to meet national needs.
In her audit report for financial year ended March 31, 2019, Monica Besetsa points that blood bank comes up short in performing up to standard in establishing a formal organizational structure.
The structure, Besetsa says should work in line with the provisions of the Lesotho national blood transfusion policy that establishes a committee that advises health ministers on the blood bank’s operations.
Lesotho national blood transfusion policy of 2006 the blood bank must establish the advisory national blood transfusion committee.
Acting Auditor General said the blood bank has failed to establish the committee and has not provided a valid reason for its oversight committee non-establishment.
Additionally, Besetsa said there are several regional blood transfusion centers across the country that are not fully functional, providing only blood collection service, mainly collected from walk-in donors, when they should also offer donor recruitment and laboratory services.
“The absence of other functional units within the centers resulted in low blood collection by regional blood banks,” said Besetsa.
The audit report also concluded that there was also a critical staff shortage issue, as there were fifteen staff members at the blood bank headquarters and the proposed creation of positions suggested that seventeen positions were required.
“Due to shortages of staff, the blood bank has not been able to attend to an invitation to educate and collect blood and blood products, provide services at headquarters when staff took field trips, go to the public places such as shopping centers/malls to disseminate information on blood transfusion, as required and to provide adequate counseling services as there was no position of a counselor,” Besetsa said in her report.
Besetsa recommended the Blood bank should petition the Principal Secretary of Health Services for assistance in creating new roles to ensure that blood transfusion programs are as efficient as possible.
The blood bank was also advised to concentrate more on utilizing Information Education and Communication (IEC) material to disseminate information and transmit it to majority of target population.
Besetsa also said the blood bank should increase the frequency of blood transfusion information dissemination through all media platforms and perhaps consider utilizing those ones with wide-ranging coverage such as social media.