Blood reserves slowly picking up

22 July 2020 | Society

The Namibian Blood Donation Service (NamBTS) faced critical shortages during lockdown, spokesman Titus Shivute said.
“Unfortunately, we were initially unable to supply all the hospitals with the blood they needed,” he said in an interview with our sister publication, Allgemeine Zeitung, yesterday.
Around 150 blood units need to be donated daily to meet the national demand. However, during the lockdown, the NamBTS only received an average of 100 units a day. “Although we are considered an essential service, we still had to cancel numerous blood donation drives,” Shivute said.
The biggest issue affecting blood drives, was the closure of educational institutions. “Usually around 30% of our donations come from schools and universities,” he said.
According to Shivute, the NamBTS is receiving more donations now. “At the moment we can supply hospitals across the country with blood for nine days should there suddenly be no more donations.” Nevertheless, their goal is a 15-day supply.
“We opened another blood donation centre in Ondangwa in northern Namibia two weeks ago.” In addition, there are already two donation clinics in Windhoek and one each in Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Oshakati. However, the centre in Walvis Bay is currently not being used due to the Covid-19 outbreak there.
He said that many people are afraid of donating, because they think the virus can be transmitted through blood. “But, according to studies, this is not possible,” Shivute said. “Still, we always do an antibody test and then decide whether the donated blood can be used.”

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