Jan 11, 2021 News
Kaieteur News- In 2020, blood donation by the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) was reduced by 25 percent.
This is according to an annual report prepared by Director of the NBTS, Dr. Pedro Lewis. Dr. Lewis noted in his presentation that from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBTS commonly referred to as the blood bank has been faced with difficulty in the collection of the life saving bodily fluid.
According to the NBTS Director, with the introduction of stay home orders, social distancing rules and other guidelines due to COVID -19, the blood bank was posed with a challenge for stable/sufficient supply due to measures to prevent spread of epidemic and the fear of contagium by donors.
As a result, he said the agency expended more on the COVID-19, tele-recruitment, radio/TV, social media, and “community sensitization” programmes.
According to Dr. Lewis, community sensitization increased from 10 in 2019 to 67 in 2020. He said that the improvement of sensitization at the community level was conducted primarily through health centres. Due to the growth in the sensitization campaign, the NBTS moved from spending US $65 on Radio/TV programmes in 2019 to spending US $1600 in 2020.
The report also pointed to statistics of the countrywide collection. In this regard, Dr. Lewis noted that there was a “sharp reduction” between March to August, a “recovery starting” in September, and on an average 35 percent reduction between April to August.
He said that, “actual figures show that 391 units were collected in March 2020, the same month that Guyana recorded its first COVID-19 death, compared with 582 for March 2019.”
Alluding to the statistics, the NBTS Director noted that in April 2020, 369 units were collected compared to 1,060 in April 2019; 517 in May 2020 and 896 in May 2019; 641 in June 2020 and 685 in June 2020; 488 in July 2020 and 772 in July 2019, and 425 in August 2020 and 723 in August 2019.
Regarding the blood collection recovery period, Dr Lewis noted 641 units were collected in September compared to 616 for the same period last year, and 810 in October, 2020 compared to 725 in October 2019.
The NBTS Director noted however that the blood bank collected 850 units in December and ended the year with a 20% to 25% overall reduction.
He noted too that emphasis was placed in blood collection out of Region Four since 80 percent of the blood supply come from that region which is also the largest region to be affected by COVID-19.
According to Dr. Lewis, in Region Four, there was 350 external blood collections for 2019 in 2020 there was 165.
Explaining the process of distribution, Dr. Lewis said in his report that the blood bank managed to deliver from its central location in Georgetown to all six collection sites.
Owing to the pandemic, Dr. Lewis noted that there were multiple postponements of elective surgical procedure and restrictive transfusion strategies.
“At the main referral hospital, in 2019 from January to August, there were a total of 4700 units, which were requested and 72% of those were satisfied. Similar time, in 2020, there were a total of 4100 requests and 59% of those were satisfied,” Dr. Lewis said.
He noted nonetheless that no hospital reported that they were out of stock or that a patient died from an acute blood shortage.
With reference to the screening process, Dr. Lewis noted that no blood collected had traces of the coronavirus as “all donors so far are not healthy, without symptoms, nor with contact history and to date, there are no reports of post-donation.”
Additionally, the NBTS Head said that no staff was suspected of COVID-19 symptoms since the agency operated under the guidelines including having body temperature checks before entering the blood bank or wearing of personal protective equipment.
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