Somalia reopened the National Blood Bank Saturday for the first time in more than 30 years, in a significant move to address the shortage of blood supplies and save lives.
Somalia Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, who inaugurated the fresh start for the center in Mogadishu, said it’s a crucial achievement for his nation, which has been grappling with frequent disasters and violent incidents that require adequate blood supplies.
The country’s health minister, Dr. Ali Haji Adam, told VOA the revival of the center signifies a turning point in the country’s health care system.
“With the reopening of the national blood bank, we can now adequately address the overwhelming demand for blood in emergency situations and enhance the chances of saving precious lives.” Adam said.
The minister said the center will have the capacity to store hundreds of thousands of blood donations, all made by the public.
“In the past, when tragic accidents like the Zobe 1 and Zobe 2 explosions occurred in 2017 and in 2022, the public rushed to donate blood, but unfortunately there was no adequate storage facility to store the donated blood. Today that changes,” Adam explained.
The health minister highlighted the critical impact of the lack of access to safe blood in Somalia, particularly in connection with child mortality.
“The second cause of maternal death during childbirth is bleeding, but with the reopening of [the] blood bank, mothers will have access to this lifesaving resource,” Adam said.
Hospitals across Somalia have faced immense challenges in obtaining sufficient blood supplies.
Medical officials say they are optimistic that the blood bank will not only serve the immediate needs of people injured in accidents and disasters but will also prove beneficial for anemic children in Somalia.
Established in 1976, the national blood bank had not been operating for nearly three decades due to conflicts, leaving the war-torn nation without a reliable source of blood for critical medical emergencies.