A LOCAL social club, Team Shanghai recently partnered with Cuban Linx for a blood donation initiative at LNDC Square in Maseru.
The initiative was meant to encourage Basotho youths to donate blood and help mitigate the current blood shortage.
Dubbed “Give the Gift of Life and Save Lives”, the initiative was held under the tagline #Partywithadifference with over 100 people donating blood.
The initiative comes after the Lesotho Blood Transfusion Services (LBTS) last month announced that it was in a dire situation as its stocks had been depleted.
So serious was the situation that patients requiring blood transfusions were being asked by hospitals to bring their relatives or other donors to give them blood. Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital (also known as Tšepong) — the country’s largest referral hospital- had gone to the extent of asking patients’ relatives to donate blood. The hospital also said the blood shortages also delayed the performance of operations on patients and other life-saving medical procedures.
Even Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein was also said to be turning away patients who were referred to them without their own blood units.
LBTS has been facing challenges in collecting enough blood after the Ministry of Education and Training imposed stringent regulations that made it difficult for the LBTS to source blood from learners who were among the biggest blood donors three years ago.
The regulations were imposed after parents complained to the ministry that they were not consulted over health services provided to their children in schools.
LBTS blood donor recruiter Khatala Liphoto recently told the Lesotho Times that the decision has left several patients in need of blood transfusion vulnerable to otherwise treatable conditions.
At the time, Mr Liphoto said they had been left with only five group O positive blood units, eight A positive units, four group B positive units and nine AB positive units.
“The situation is very critical as we ought to have 40 group O units and 10 other blood groups every day. Annually we are supposed to collect at least 8000 blood units.
“The blood shortages are deepening and the situation has been worsened by the Ministry of Education and Training’s regulations that make it difficult for the LBTS to source blood from learners.
“It was said that learning time was taken up by the blood donations and it was also said that parents also demanded to be consulted to give their consent before their children could donate blood.
“We gave out consent forms to learners but this is not working because the forms were not returned to us, thus leaving us with very few donors,” Mr Liphoto said.
Team Shanghai secretary general Rethabile Makhobole told the Weekender that the initiative was necessitated by the need to mitigate the blood crisis.
“Last month we read an article that Lesotho was facing a blood shortage crisis and we thought it would be ideal if we came up an initiative which will help the situation,” Rethabile said.
He said the event came at an opportune time as the festive holidays, which are known to be bloody with many road accidents, are around the corner.
“Apart from people who came but failed to donate blood because of health issues, 110 people donated 55 litres to the blood bank.”
He said Team Shanghai and Cuban Linx found it easy to collaborate on the initiative because they both work with the youths.
Formed this year, Team Shanghai started off as a football club playing on Sundays against other amateur teams in what is popularly known as old-stock games.
The football initiative is aimed to uniting Maseru men but it has grown to attract a diverse following of people among them women.