NamBTS in desperate need of blood

Calling all blood donors
Swakopmund • [email protected]

The Blood Transfusion Service of Namibia (NamBTS) is experiencing a critical shortage of blood for hospitals and medical centres countrywide.

According to NamBTS’ clinic planner, Wendy Willemse, the recent extension of the nationwide lockdown has led to the cancellation of numerous educational, corporate and industrial blood donation clinics.

This resulted in a drop of more than 50% in blood reserves.

“NamBTS requires an average of over 150 blood donations per weekday to meet the demand for hospitals and medical centres across the country. Unfortunately, we received less than a hundred donations in the preceding three weeks and as a result, we are facing a blood shortage,” she said.

Willemse said that blood donors are allowed to travel to blood donation centres during the lockdown, as it is categorized as an essential travel purpose.

“Also, Covid-19 cannot be transmitted through a blood transfusion, as respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmitted by donation or transfusion.”

NamBTS has taken the advice of the ministry of health and social services as well as the World Health Organisation in adjusting the nature of its operations to meet recommendations, thus making it safe to donate blood during this period.

NamBTS personnel sanitize their hands regularly with soap and water in addition to using hand sanitizer before and after each encounter with a donor.

“Hand sanitizer is freely available for blood donors and staff to use at donation clinics. Cleaning and disinfection procedures for frequently used objects and surfaces have been enhanced. Blood donation stations and beds are kept at reasonable distances to ensure social distancing as far as possible,” she said.

In a statement by the executive director of the MoHSS, Ben Nangombe confirmed to prospective donors that it is safe to donate blood.

“NamBTS has implemented all the necessary safety measures needed to ensure donor clinics are safe enough to protect blood donors from contracting Covid-19. To maintain sufficient stocks of blood for patients in need is a big challenge. We therefore urge everybody to donate blood.”

People who are interested in becoming blood donors must be older than 16 years, weigh more than 50kg, lead a sexually safe lifestyle and enjoy general good health.

The NamBTS Swakopmund Centre is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 to 16:00, while the Walvis Bay Centre is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 to 16:00.