WHO calls for blood donation vs maternal deaths

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Friday, June 13, 2014

COMBATING maternal mortality is more than just providing reproductive health (RH) service and artificial contraceptives but is also about having adequate blood supply.

In a statement for the World Blood Donor Day (June 14), the World Health Organization (WHO) – Western Pacific Region said there is a need for governments in the region to take concrete steps to improve access to safe blood and blood products in order to minimize the number of maternal deaths.

"Countries must put in place policies, systems and structures to ensure that women whose severe bleeding persists despite basic preventive and clinical care, have access to safe blood and blood products that may save their lives," said WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo.

He said this is because severe bleeding during childbirth is the most common cause of pregnancy-related deaths.

WHO records show that an estimated 289,000 women died in 2013 due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth, of which 27 percent were due to severe bleeding.

"It is not acceptable that thousands of women die each year in the Western Pacific Region unnecessarily due to pregnancy-related conditions," said Shin.

The WHO official added that aside from saving mothers' lives, blood transfusion has been proven time and again to be important in saving millions of lives every year.

Shin said blood transfusion can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life as well as support complex medical and surgical procedures.

"Many deaths could be avoided with timely access to safe blood and blood products," said Shin. (HDT/Sunnex)

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