22 Jan 2015

Culture responsible for Solomons blood shortages

7:43 am on 22 January 2015

The Solomon Islands Red Cross is once again refuting reports published in the Island Sun Newspaper linking blood shortages at the National Referral Hospital to the alleged withdrawal of the Red Cross blood drive programme.

The Secretary General of Solomon Islands Red Cross Joanne Zoloveke says yesterday's report is misleading because the programme is ongoing and there are three Red Cross volunteers working with the blood bank.

Ms Zoloveke says these volunteers are working in the place of a former employee seconded to the blood bank, who was sacked on Christmas Eve for misappropriating funds.

She says despite an ongoing investigation into the incident, the funding from the Australian Red Cross through the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to be provided.

She says the blood shortage at the hospital is unrelated to her organisations internal issues and is an ongoing problem that has its roots in the culture.

"The issue about giving blood, if it's not for your relative, can be a trying one for those of us who were to try and recruit voluntary blood donors. Once we overcome that cultural inhibition, we can probably see the level of blood stocks rise in the blood bank and probably remain at a sufficient level."

The Secretary General of the Solomon Islands Red Cross, Joanne Zoloveke.