Blood bank ‘almost empty’



Limpho Sello

THE Lesotho Blood Transfusion Services (LBTS) has appealed to the public to donate blood amid a severe shortage which threatens to cripple the health delivery system during the upcoming Easter holiday.

The LBTS was created in June 1984 to provide safe and adequate blood and blood products to the country’s hospitals.

In an interview with the Lesotho Times this week, LBTS Blood Donor Recruitment Officer, Mamotheo Mpata, said as of Monday, the blood bank only had 162 units left, which she lamented fell far short of their annual target of 8000 units.

Ms Mpata added the LBTS would not run out of stock should at least 40 people donate blood every day.

“Our major blood-donors are students, but since schools have closed for the Easter holidays, we are in a crisis and our hope now is for the public to voluntarily visit our offices around the country and donate blood,” Ms Mpata said.

“We are likely to experience an acute shortage with some hospitals unable to get blood when they most need it, and that is why we are appealing to the public to donate.

“Added to that, we appeal to the public to stay safe and avoid situations that may result in accidents so that the little blood we have can be used by patients giving birth and not for operations.”

Ms Mpata’s counterpart, Khoboso Moeletsi, chipped in saying the LBTS usually experiences severe blood shortage during the Easter holiday due to road accidents and cases of assault which increase during the period. This, she said, was in addition to the regular blood-transfusion needed for anaemic patients and women giving birth.

Ms Moeletsi explained the LBTS had no choice but to appeal to the public to donate blood because the human body is the only manufacturer of the fluid and there is no substitute or replacement.

“Blood helps in carrying oxygen to all parts of the body so that’s why it is so important that we have it at all times,” she said.

“We are appealing to those who are healthy to donate blood so that we have safe and adequate blood to provide it to those who need it.”

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