Nightmare for Blood Transfusion Services

Nightmare for Blood Transfusion Services

MASERU – THE Lesotho Blood Transfusion Services (LBTS) is having serious problems collecting enough blood after parents blocked its access to students who are its main donors.
The service stopped canvassing for blood from schools after some parents said they did not want their children donating blood without their consent.  Getting parents to give their consent has been a logistical nightmare for LBTS. As a result the blood bank has remained at record lows for months.  LBTS director Khatala Liphoto told thepost that they used to collect at least 40 pints per day from donors.  “To tell the truth, we did not go to schools last year and this has had dire consequences for the bank,” Khatala said.

“We are yet to see, working in harmony with the Ministry of Education, how we can realise our dreams of collecting blood as usual.” He also said many adults who used to donate in the past have stopped because of various reasons, chiefly illnesses that would not allow them to donate. The bank was virtually empty during the festive season, a time when demand for blood spike due to accidents and violent fights.   Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital, Lesotho’s national referral hospital, admitted over 62 patients with serious injuries, most of whom needed blood transfusions. Hospital officials told the Lesotho Television then that the shortage of blood was really serious. It was during this time that the LBTS announced that it had run out of blood and was in dire need of donations. That call for donations triggered a response from many people across the country.

One of those who decided to do something was the family of former Lesotho ambassador to the United Nations, the late Charles Dube Molapo.  His granddaughter Seitebatso Khomari, a 21-year old youth living in Khubetsoana in the northern outskirt of Maseru, decided to donate blood.  And during her 21st birthday celebration on January 4 she encouraged her family and friends to do the same. Khomari, a psychology student at Wits University, went to her grandfather’s home where cousins and friends donated 21 pints of blood.  “Giving blood was my ultimate goal during my transition from dependency into adulthood,” Khomari said. “People actually think it hurts to donate blood because of the needles but it actually isn’t painful,” Khomari said.  “The feeling was overwhelming,” she said. Khomari’s uncle, Charles Dube Molapo Jr. said the blood transfusion service should have planned strategies of going out to the people because most are too busy to visit their offices and clinics or Hospitals to give blood time. “People are willing to give blood but they do not have time to do so, those responsible for collecting blood should reach out to the people, maybe go the mall, to offices and organise days to have companies donate blood,” Molapo said.

Rose Moremoholo

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