… to address the shortage left by schools and other institutions on winter vacation
As it usually happens during winter, the blood bank at Jigme Dorji Wangchuk national referral hospital is running short of blood groups A and O positive. The blood bank’s head in-charge Tenzin Rabgyel said the shortage is mainly because institutes and schools, which are the highest donors, remaining closed during vacations. The hospital requires between 18 to 22 units a day. “Now we’re looking for voluntary donors and, if we have 100 percent voluntary donor, we can provide blood anytime,” Tenzin Rabgyel said.
Most patients, who have been referred from Mongar, Gelephu and Trashiyangtse, require A+ and O+ blood groups. The other group, which requires blood transfusion, is patients, who suffer from kidney problems, have met with accidents, in surgery, and mothers who have delivered. From January 2012 until yesterday, the blood bank has collected around 6,000 units of blood through voluntary donations. Each unit is 350 to 450ml. Records with the bank show that there were 2,074 voluntary donors, 554 replacement donors and 1433 mobile campings last year.
Tenzin Rabgyel also said that the hospital has opened an oncology unit for chemotherapy patients, and that they are using blood with different components like packed red cells (PRC), red blood cells (RBC), fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and platelets. This means, with one unit of blood, they can transfuse three patients, and FFP can be used for jaundice and bleeding patients. The bank stores all donated blood for 35 days at two to six degrees Centigrade. FFP can be stored for two years at -30 degrees, and platelets for five days at room temperature.
Males can donate at three months interval, and females at four months, because RBC blood cells remain in the body for 121 days. “It’s lost in the form of urine and stool, so it’s better to instead donate blood,” Tenzin Rabgyel said. The bank also asks for “replacement donation” from patients’ relatives and friends. Meanwhile, because of the shortage, a maternity patient said she had to wait for three days to get her relative come and donate A+ blood group. “I was given a unit from the hospital itself, but had to wait for the other unit,” she said.
While a patient at the same ward said she got two units of blood from the hospital itself, another patient said she is still waiting for one more unit of blood. “We try as much as we can to provide blood to patients, but patients always carry a negative notion about us,” a blood bank official said. Most organisations, said Tenzin Rabgyel, are willing to donate blood today, which is a good sign. He said, through blood campaigns, they aim to bring in more voluntary donors to replace “replacement donation.”To donate, a person has to weigh 45kg and above, and be above 18 years and below 60. The bank now has a van to deliver donation services.