Save a life during the pandemic

28 July 2020 | Health

Johannes Kakelo

Blood donations severely affected by Covid-19

Due to reinforced protective measures by the government to combat the further spreading of the coronavirus (Covid-19), the country’s blood collection drives have dropped.

Implemented regulations such as wearing a mask, maintaining a one-meter distance from others, the ban on large gatherings and regular handwashing/sanitising have led to a decline in the number of people visiting health facilities in order to donate blood.

In a letter released by the Blood Transfusion Service of Namibia (NamBTS), the organisation stressed that the closing of schools, universities and other training institutions has forced the organisation to cancel blood drives, and some companies which are still operating have not allowed them to conduct blood drives at their premises either.

It further said that this has led to a drop in blood collections by 50%, and as a result, NamBTS has started to ration and reduce blood units supplied to blood banks and hospitals across the country.

The ministry of health and social services clarified to the public that the virus cannot be transmitted to donors and the general public through blood donations or blood transfusions, as respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmitted by donation or transfusion.

The ministry has also struggled to maintain sufficient stocks of blood for patients in the country.

The ministry confirmed and assured the public that NamBTS has implemented all the necessary safety measures to ensure donor clinic environments are safe to protect blood donors from contracting the coronavirus, and therefore urged the nation at large to continue with donations. One donation can save up to three lives.