Health Minister again threatens to shut down hospital’s laboratory
- over blood screening controversy
Health Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has accused some private hospitals of collecting and screening blood although being banned from doing so.
On March 1, the Ministry of Health banned all private hospitals from collecting or screening blood but Dr. Ramsammy says some private health institutions did not adhere to this.
He alleged that one private hospital, which he refused to name, is still continuing with this practice.
He explained that if this continues this week, then his ministry would close down the hospital’s laboratory.
All private health institutions are being asked to enhance their laboratories, in order to facilitate the proper testing and screening of blood collected from donors, so that the blood is made entirely safe.
Recently, the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) has acquired the capacity to test for Chagas disease.
Unless the private hospitals meet the same standards like the NBTS, they would not be allowed to collect blood from donors.
The private hospitals will also be monitored on a daily basis by the ministry. It was explained that if a person is asked to donate blood at a private hospital, then they should make a report to the Ministry of Health, as only then can there be 100% compliance.
During the course of the ban, private health facilities will have to acquire their blood from the blood bank at a cost of $3,000 per unit.
Meanwhile, Minister Ramsammy commended Mercy Hospital for not collecting and screening any blood.
However, Minister Ramsammy is encouraging the private hospitals to recruit donors and send them over to the NBTS. “We want the private hospitals to encourage the families to donate blood, not tell them that they have to donate or the request of blood won’t come.”
Dr. Ramsammy explained that the NBTS could not honour requests for blood made by relatives, as only doctors and the hospitals can make those kinds of requests.
It was also noted that the Ministry is on target of reaching their goal of 8,000 units voluntary donation, but they are below the pace necessary to reach 10,000 units.
At the end of March, the NBTS collected 2000 units of blood.
Minister Ramsammy commended Region 6 for trying to assist in the blood collection process as in 2007, the region contributed less than 3% of the total blood collection in the country, while in 2008 a total of 352 units were contributed. For this year so far, the region has contributed 4% of all blood collected.
Dr. Ramsammy has now mandated them to collect 600 units by the end of the year.
He however, expressed his disappointment with Regions, 2, 5 and 10 with not doing enough to help the blood situation in the country.