Hi-tech centre to improve blood supply

Monday, February 22, 2010

Johannesburg - Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has officially opened a new state-of-the-art medical training centre that will ensure safe supply of blood and blood products to patients.

The Transfusion Medicine Training Centre boasts lecture rooms, video conferencing facilities, training laboratories for technical and donor training as well as a computer training centre.

Motsoaledi on Monday said the issue of blood safety in the country was an important component in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

He said blood collection, blood banking and transfusion medicine were an essential part of any modern care system, which helps to save millions of lives each year.

"The world of blood banking and transfusion medicine is continually changing as new technology evolves to further reduce the risks associated with the use of blood and blood products.

"Education and training is fundamental to every aspect of blood safety as well as successful utilisation of blood and blood products in saving lives of children with life threatening anaemia, trauma victims and women with pregnancy-related complications, especially in the poor and disadvantaged," Motsoaledi said.

The centre, which is based at the South African National Blood Services (SANBS), is funded through the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

PEPFAR has allocated R2 million every year to SANBS for the past five years, including R10 million for the running of the centre each year.

SANBS CEO, Dr Loyiso Mpuntsha, said 100 people have been trained since the opening of the centre last year with 50 being enrolled for 2010.