Botswana: Blood Donations Decline Amid COVID-19

Gaborone — The blood status at various blood banks around the country has significantly dropped since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview on May 27, Botswana National Blood Transfusion senior nursing officer, Mr Dick Rakereng said for the past five years, the organisation collected on average 25 000 units of blood annually, from voluntary and non-remunerated blood donors but due to the extreme social distancing period, they only managed to collect around 11 000 units of blood.

Mr Rakereng said due to extreme social distancing protocol, the number of patients in need of blood transfusion was high.

He explained that this was due to the restriction of movement hence the public was not permitted to visit blood banks to donate blood and his organisation could not stage any blood donation campaigns at various venues around the country.

Mr Rakereng said the closure of schools also affected the amount of blood units usually collected as schools were their primary source of blood collection.

"The lockdown and restriction of movement has resulted in donors being unable to donate yet hospital facilities still have mothers giving birth and there are still cancer and road accidents patients who are in dire need of blood transfusions," he said.

He highlighted that currently all the blood groups were experiencing shortages and as such appealed to the public to become regular donors.

"Everyday thousands of people would die if others did not donate blood. By donating blood, you are giving a patient something money cannot buy and science cannot create," he said.

Mr Rakereng advised the public to eat food rich in iron, exercise and maintain healthy lifestyles in order to increase their blood unit levels.

Source : BOPA

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