WINDHOEK, 15 JUN – The Ministry of Health and Social Services spends about N.dollars 55 million annually to acquire the needed blood for all public hospitals from the Namibia Blood Transfusion Service (NamBTS).
In an interview with Nampa shortly after the commemoration of World Blood Donor Day here on Thursday, Senior Medical Officer in the ministry’s Blood Transfusion Department, Dr Britta Lohrke said 80 per cent of the blood collected by NamBTS goes to public hospitals countrywide.
However, Lohrke said in 2016, the line Minister, Dr Bernard Haufiku, had advised the department to make interventions in the amounts used to purchase of blood units for hospital used.
“The department was directed to do a lot of blood conservation, so whenever I do training in the hospital with the doctors, we teach them how to conserve blood by not wasting it and giving it unnecessarily,” she said.
She noted that in 2017 about 42 000 units of blood were distributed to 52 hospitals and clinics nationwide, of which only 37 000 units were collected in the same year.
Lohrke emphasised that besides the blood that is donated for free, the process of acquiring and keeping the blood is expensive and NamBTS is a non-profit organisation which has to sustain itself, which necessitates the ministry’s purchase.
She further noted that the ministry does not have permanent clinics where people can donate blood, however there is a mobile clinic that collects blood on its behalf, but this is not enough to supply all State hospitals.
Lohrke also added that only one per cent of the Namibian population donates blood, which is not enough as every month, Namibia requires more than 2 800 units of blood.
World Blood Donor Day is observed on 14 June every year. This year the day was commemorated under the theme ‘Be there for someone else. Give blood, share life’.