Malawi Blood Transfusion Service running out of reserves: ‘Lives of patients at risk.’

Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS) –the country’s main blood reservoir in times of emergency – is running out of the important body fluid, a development that has been blamed on the current secondary schools and institutions of higher learning summer holidays.

Dr. Brighton Mbaya of MBTS said “lives of patients, especially those who survive road accidents are at risk.”

According to Mbaya, there is a flop in the amount of blood collected per day from 220 units to only about 130.

He added that as a result, MBTS has put in place a number of incentives to help rectify the situation.

It's empty reserves: Medical officer Steven Njolomole shows
It’s empty reserves: Medical officer Steven Njolomole shows

“We’ve started opening on Saturdays to supplement the Monday to Friday schedule,” said Mbaya.

He added: “We are also conducting awareness campaigns, going to churches and companies to see if we can get more blood donors.”

Mbaya further called on all Malawians in the country to consider donating blood during this difficult time.

He decried that though they keep track of blood donors in their system, sometimes the people are never reached when in dire need.

“We keep mobile numbers of all our blood donors in our data base but when there is dire need of blood, the numbers usually don’t work,” he said.

According to Mbaya, blood cannot be collected in bulk for future use because its usage period is supposed to be within 35 to 40 days.

“That’s why we can’t keep the blood we get from students – who are our major donors – for a long time,” he explained.

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