By the end of the year, the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) is expected to receive approximately 165 units of blood to boost its stock. In the past the bank received as much as a 140 units in a single day.
The blood bank is experiencing a severe shortage.
However, despite the anticipation of receiving this amount of blood, National Blood Donor Manager of the NBTS, Shameeza Mangal, said that this would still not be adequate to fully restock the bank.
The shortage of blood being experienced at the Blood Bank is having a direct negative impact on some of the patients at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), who are currently at the institution, but cannot undergo surgery due to the shortage.
From September 14 to September 17, the GPHC requested 49 units of blood for emergency use, while 27 units were requested for ‘elective’ surgery.
It was explained that the NBTS has since been able to fulfill the demands made by the hospital.
Meanwhile, from Sunday to Thursday, the bank has only been able to acquire 72 units of blood. Of this amount, 40 units were from voluntary donation while the remaining 32 units were from family replacement.
It was explained that the acquisition of blood is still moving at a snail’s place, and if it continues like this, then the Blood Bank would not be able to fulfill the request being made by the GPHC.
The GPHC is not the only hospital requesting blood. Private hospitals also make requests.
Kaieteur News understands that a patient is currently bleeding profusely at one of the private institutions in Georgetown, and as such requires four units of the ‘O’ Negative blood type, which is the rarest blood type but there is the shortage at the Blood Bank.
Mangal explained that she has had cause to call up donors so that the patient can undergo emergency surgery.
Because of this, the bank has to now do emergency testing of the blood so that it can reach the patient as soon as possible.
Mangal revealed that before the end of 2008, Gafoor’s, the United States Embassy, the British High Commission and the Canadian High Commission are expected to host blood drives in order to assist the NBTS in their desperate time of need.
The final year students of the Cyril Potter College of Education in Rose Hall, Berbice, along with the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Stewartville, on the West Coast of Demerara, and the Bank of Guyana are also expected to come on board to donate blood.
Mangal explained that the bank had a huge buffer of blood in July, but due to the increased demands, the bank was left short.
She noted that in that same month, many pregnant women were admitted to the GPHC and had to receive blood, since their haemoglobin level was very low.
According to Mangal, most of the mothers would bleed profusely after giving birth, thus the increased demand for the blood.
It was explained that the NBTS does not hesitate to provide the private hospitals with the blood, since according to Mangal ‘it is all about saving a life.”
Mangal said that the Blood Bank is experiencing such a severe shortage that if a disaster is to occur in the country, then the Blood Bank would not be able to deal with the situation. The supply of blood would not be available.
Kaieteur News understands that it has been close to one month now since the bank has been experiencing the major shortage.
In June, the NBTS had reported that it was making significant strides in its attempt to acquire 100 per cent voluntary blood donors.
In July, Minister Ramsammy had noted that over the past year there were approximately 1000 first-time donors, which established that the goal set by the Health Ministry to have 100 per cent voluntary donation by 2010 will be achieved. (Fareeza Haniff)
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