‘Blood bank situation not very good’ |07 October 2020
“The stock of blood in the blood bank of the Seychelles Hospital is at the moment not very good.”
It was Elizabeth Banda, the nurse in charge of the Blood Transfusion Unit, who made the statement following a blood donation drive by a group of teachers yesterday morning.
The group of 25 teachers from different public schools on Mahé were at the unit to donate blood as part of activities to mark Teachers’ Day celebrated on Monday.
“The blood situation is not very good as only family replacement donors are coming forward to give blood for their sick patients.
“The number of regular donors who come forward are very few and usually even if they are there we just have to keep on calling them to come and give blood which is coming a bit difficult because sometimes their phone numbers have changed,” she said.
Ms Banda said that the unit now faces the challenge of doing blood drives through outreach programmes with companies and organisations.
“This is how we are able to survive. Otherwise with our regular donors, people are not willing to give blood,” Ms Banda said.
She claimed that with regard to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, people might be afraid to come forward.
She added that people in the community should be sensitised and educated on the values of giving blood and the process it entails, something that the unit has already started to do.
“With this, we hope that maybe the situation of blood might improve, because sometimes people are scared and sometimes they don’t know what is entails. So if you give them information as to why they need to come and give their blood and why it is very important for them to do so, at least they will be willing to come and give blood,” she said.
She said that the unit is practicing all the health safety measures against Covid-19 and that people, especially the blood donors, should not be afraid to come to the unit to give blood.
The teachers from the primary, secondary and post-secondary schools were also joined by five staff members of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, the organiser of the special annual activity.
“Upon hearing that teachers were being urged to donate blood, I felt motivated. And the fact that I do not know my blood group, I said to myself, why not give it a try to give blood to help others in need while I will also get to know my blood group,” said Maybel Henriette, a first time blood donor from Grand Anse Mahé primary school.
She said that with the new experience, she is prepared to donate more blood, again, in the future.
George Onduru, a Kenyan teacher from English River secondary school, said giving blood is the best gift that somebody can give to save the lives of others. He is a blood donor in his country (Kenya) and he was making the noble gesture for the first time in our country. He said that from time to time he will assist the unit.
A member of the teacher’s week organising committee, Brigitte Labonte, said that the mobilasation for the event has been on a low key due to the pandemic.
She said that if the Covid-19 situation gets better, the ministry will in future re-do the blood donation at the Education Hall where participation is more massive.
Ms Labonte further said that at the hall, apart from blood donation, participants also get involved in other medical tests such as for vision, HIV, hypertension, diabetes and counselling among other male and women’s health issues.
She said that the ministry though is very satisfied with the turnout yesterday.
Blood is required by people who find themselves in various perilous situations among which include, surgeries, accidents, cancer, burns and babies born with jaundice, among others. People (both male and female with general health, including with body weight not less than 50kg and aged between 16-63 years can donate blood.
Photos: Jude Morel