Blood bank well stocked, ready for the festive period

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Limpho Sello

THE Lesotho Blood Transfusion Services (LBTS) says it is well stocked with enough blood units to sustain the country throughout the festive season.

This is the first time in five years that the LBTS is not experiencing blood shortages during the festive period.

In an interview with the Lesotho Times this week, LBTS Principal Laboratory Technologist, Khotso Kalake, said they had 432 blood units which were enough for the holidays, particularly Christmas Day on 25 December 2021, Boxing Day a day later and New Year’s Day on 1 January 2022.

Mr Kalake said the blood units were likely to cover the first two weeks of January 2022 as well.

He attributed their change of fortunes to hard work and sustained campaigns to get people to donate blood throughout the year.

“This is all because of the campaigns we kept going even when the situation appeared bleak,” Mr Kalake said.

“We soldiered on and we are grateful to donors who continued giving blood even when others were reluctant to do so. We have realised that it pays to be consistent and not give up.

“Last month, we set up 11 mobile blood collection sites and we had 12 mobile sites this month. Many people came through to donate. Some of the places where we received the biggest donations include the Police Training College (PTC) and Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) in Maseru. For example, we went to the PTC and collected 100 blood units. This went a long way in increasing our blood stocks,” Mr Kalake said.

He said various organisations had also weighed in by inviting them to collect blood during the World AIDS Day commemorations on 1 December 2021.

The news of adequate blood stocks is a welcome relief to the nation during the festive period when demand for blood is likely to increase due to road accidents as more people travel to be their families.

At this time last year, the LBTS was in dire straits as it had only 20 blood units that had been sourced from Mokoanyane Barracks in Maseru.

Before then in October 2020, a blood crisis played out in the country.  It got to the extent where patients requiring blood transfusions were asked by hospitals to bring their relatives or other donors to give them blood. At the time, Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital — the country’s largest referral hospital — said the blood shortages delayed operations on patients and other life-saving medical procedures.

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