Blood short­age bites ahead of Xmas

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

THE Le­sotho Blood Trans­fu­sion Ser­vices (LBTS) has ex­pressed con­cern over the coun­try­wide de­ple­tion of stocks of blood in its banks, say­ing this could con­trib­ute to higher fa­tal­i­ties dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son.

LBTS has been fac­ing chal­lenges in col­lect­ing enough blood af­ter the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing pulled the plug on the ser­vice’s school blood do­na­tion pro­gramme.

The ban was ef­fected af­ter par­ents al­legedly com­plained to the min­istry they were not con­sulted over health ser­vices pro­vided to their chil­dren in schools.

LBTS blood donor re­cruiter Khatala Liphoto yes­ter­day told the Le­sotho Times that the de­ci­sion has left thou­sands of pa­tients in need of blood trans­fu­sion vul­ner­a­ble to other­wise pre­ventable deaths.

Mr Khatala said the sit­u­a­tion was so dire that the LBTS feared the worst for the Christ­mas hol­i­days when there was usu­ally an up­surge in ac­ci­dents, leav­ing vic­tims in ur­gent need of blood trans­fu­sion.

“Christ­mas hol­i­days are usu­ally a time when blood trans­fu­sions are in high de­mand and it is wor­ry­ing that we are just few weeks away and we do not have blood,” Mr Khatala said.

He said dur­ing this time, in pre­vi­ous years, they would be col­lect­ing blood from the schools “and in De­cem­ber and Jan­uary, we would rely on cor­po­rates, com­mu­ni­ties and open pub­lic spa­ces but un­for­tu­nately we have ex­hausted those re­serves”.

He said the sit­u­a­tion was so dire that fam­ily mem­bers were now forced to do­nate the life-sav­ing liq­uid to rel­a­tives in need of blood trans­fu­sion.

“At the mo­ment there is lit­er­ally noth­ing in our blood banks through­out the coun­try. The sit­u­a­tion is bad,” Mr Liphoto said.

“In some sit­u­a­tions, you will find that a rel­a­tive has been ad­mit­ted at the Queen ‘Mamo­hato Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal (QMMH), in need of blood trans­fu­sion and the next of kin is forced to trans­port rel­a­tives from dis­tant places,” he said, adding in some un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tions, those rel­a­tives would not be el­i­gi­ble to do­nate blood, leav­ing the fam­ily “broke and dev­as­tated that they trav­elled all the way to Maseru for noth­ing”.

Mr Liphoto said the school blood do­na­tion pro­gramme had been a re­li­able blood do­na­tion base un­til the ban early this year.

“Dur­ing past years when we col­lected blood from schools, we would not even be pan­ick­ing around this time be­cause there would be lots of blood packs in our banks ready for trans­fu­sion,” Mr Liphoto said, adding “but right now it is a cri­sis and we do not have blood”.

He said it had be­come a huge chal­lenge to col­lect blood from the cor­po­rates and com­mu­ni­ties due to the high dis­ease bur­den in Le­sotho, adding that the school pro­gramme had been more ef­fec­tive.

He how­ever said that they were pin­ning hopes on the or­gan­is­ers of the Le­sotho Tele­vi­sion (Ltv) mu­si­cal pro­gramme, Ur­ban Jams, who promised to mo­bilise the youth to do­nate blood.

“We are cross­ing fin­gers that this will yield re­sults ahead of the fes­tive sea­son,” Mr Liphoto said.

He said they were also hop­ing to tap into the fac­to­ries for blood do­na­tions.

LBTS has been fac­ing chal­lenges in col­lect­ing enough blood.

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