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S. Sudan marks World Blood Donor Day with optimism

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June 14, 2018 (JUBA) - South Sudan on Thursday joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Blood Donor Day, calling for increased investment in blood transfusion services in the country.

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South Sudan Red Cross demonstrating in Bor how they evacuate victims from conflict in Jonglei state, May 6, 2013 (ST)

Speaking at the occasion, the country’s health minister, Riek Gai Kok admitted that poor and inadequate health infrastructure has made it difficult for government to organize blood donation campaigns.

"When fighting broke out in 2013, it was a real disaster because we lost so many people due to lack of blood. I am appealing to the development partners to help us roll out blood transfusion services across the country because blood is essential for humanity," said Kok.

The minister was, however, unable to avail data on the number of people who died due to blood shortages in the war-torn nation.

Currently, South Sudan operates one blood bank and has managed to store just 2,000 liters of blood since it was opened two years back.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization representative in South Sudan, Evans Liyosi said inadequate blood transfusion services across the world’s youngest nation is still a major public health challenge.

He urged development partners to assist South Sudan to expand its blood transfusion infrastructure in order to reduce deaths caused by blood shortage especially among children and pregnant women.

Countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day every 14 June. The event, established in 2004, serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products, and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gifts of blood.

(ST)

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