PR No. 20 CADD Minister performs Ground Breaking Ceremony of German funded Islamabad Blood Center Islamabad

Dr. Tariq Fazal Choudhry, Minister of State for CA&DD performed the ‘Ground Breaking’ ceremony of the Islamabad Regional Blood Center on May 3 in Islamabad. The Center would be constructed and equipped with the support of the German Government through KFW-German Development Bank, amounting to Rs. 175 million (Euro 1.6 million). The government of Germany was represented in the ceremony by Dr. Henning Plate, Head of Division Afghanistan/Pakistan, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation & Development (BMZ), Germany and Country Director KfW, Mr Wolfgang Moellers. Also present on the occasion were Additional Secretary CADD Dr. Jamal Yousaf, Prof. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, Project Director, Safe Blood Transfusion Programme, Dr. Masuma Zaidi, CoordinatorHealth Sector, KfW and Zahid Mahmood Team Leader EPOS. Other participants included representatives of licensed blood banks in Islamabad, stakeholders and media representatives.

The Islamabad Center is among the 15 Regional Blood Centers (RBCs) are being developed / upgraded in the Phase II of the project. In addition, up to 30 hospital blood banks will also be renovated/equipped through the German government grant worth Rs.1.1 Billion (10 million Euros). Earlier in the Phase I a nationwide network of 10 RBCs and up-gradation of 59 existing hospital based blood banks was successfully developed with Rs. 1.8 billion (15 million Euros).

Speaking on the occasion the CADD Minister expressed his gratitude to the German Government for the gift of a Blood Center to the people of the Islamabad. He appreciated the presence of the visiting German delegation in the ceremony. The Minister stated that the present government is fully committed to improve the blood safety standards in the country and the development of a model Regional Blood Center in Islamabad will go a long way in achieving this goal. The Minister appealed to the local population especially the youth to donate voluntary blood on a regular basis to sustain the new Islamabad Center. The Minister also acknowledged Prof. Zaheer for his leadership and commitment in steering the Blood Project with exemplary zeal and devotion. To consolidate the gains of the project, the Minister requested the German government to support another round of funding and develop 10 more RBCs in the country.

The German delegation leader, Mr. Plate congratulated the Minister and Secretary for their keen interest in the implementation of the Blood Project in their region and appreciated the government’s commitment to improve access to safe blood.  He  expressed  the hope t hat the German government funded Blood Centers will herald a new era of blood safety for the people of Pakistan. He termed the Safe Blood Transfusion Project a ‘success story’ and appreciated the untiring efforts of the federal and provincial teams in making the project a success. The KfW Country Director also spoke on the occasion and expressed his delight at the Phase II infrastructure function after the successful commissioning of the Phase I Regional Blood Centers in the provinces of Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Punjab.

In her remarks, Dr. Jamal Yousaf, Additional Secretary CADD thanked the German government for supporting the blood project in Islamabad and assured timely and smooth operationalisation of the Centre upon completion. She also updated the participants about the efforts to promote voluntary blood donations for the new Center. The Islamabad RBC will provide safe blood and blood products to about 2 million people of Islamabad and surrounding areas. He also thanked the BMZ, KfW & GIZ representatives and EPOS-GOPA German consulting companies for closely coordinating with the SBT Project and implementing the challenging project in a professional and committed manner.

Prof. Zaheer, Project Director, SBT Project informed that the facility will serve as a model blood center of the country. It will be a procurement and distribution center ensuring quality systems to regulate all activities including mobilization and retention of voluntary blood donors, maintenance of donor database, collection of blood donations and processing, screening, testing, component preparation and storage of the prepared components. A customized MIS has been especially procured for the smooth functioning of the new system. He added that the blood components prepared in this Center will be provided to its linked public sector hospital blood banks which will be upgraded. On completion of this modern Center, the existing Hospital Blood Banks will be functionally re-modeled and converted into patient oriented hospital transfusion services to perform the function of storage, distribution, compatibility testing and haemovigilance. The private and NGO sector hospitals will also be provided blood components by the new Center.