Lukewarm response to Blood Bank’s call
Days after the urgent situation at the Blood Bank where supplies were exhausted, the crisis has begun to ease, even though the need for more donors is still vital.
Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy told Kaieteur News that only 13 units of blood were collected over the weekend, however; there were 34 units collected on Monday and 39 units yesterday.
“The crisis still exists and there is need to continue the present pace, but there is need also for a large drive. The crisis is easing but the need is still critical… but we are encouraged by the response. People have been coming in and we are very grateful,” Dr. Ramsammy stated.
On Saturday, last, the country’s blood bank had run out of supplies as authorities called on the public to donate.
Dr. Ramsammy had told this newspaper that on Saturday the blood bank had zero units of blood since it had distributed its last set of blood on the previous day (Friday) to various hospitals. He explained that there is a requirement of at least 600 to 800 units of blood which is necessary to facilitate supplies to patients on a monthly basis.
This demand is anticipated to increase to an average of 1,000 to 1,200 units by the end of this year and is expected to rise to 1,500 units by 2012.
Kaieteur News understands that though the GPHC was not in a position to share blood with other hospitals on Saturday, it had enough to facilitate its patients. Other hospitals were said to have a few units remaining in their possession.
Minister Ramsammy stated that due to the increase in capacity of the health sector, the blood bank has now exceeded its ability to collect blood. This is due to the fact that 10 years ago there were 2,500 units of blood collected per year in comparison to 8,000 units presently. Also while there were 2,000 surgeries conducted annually almost 10 years ago, there is an average of 10,000 surgeries being conducted on a yearly basis for the past few years.
Doctors are now utilizing more blood, with the number of surgeries per year expected to rise to 15,000 by the end of 2012, hence increasing surgical capacities.
“We are keeping people alive longer for various illnesses which include heart diseases and cancer, so there will be an increase in the demand for blood, because more blood will be used since we are treating them from earlier stages,” Dr. Ramsammy explained.