276 people donates blood during lockdown

Thinley Namgay

A total of 276 people have donated blood to the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) during the nationwide lockdown.

Now there is “enough” blood at the hospital’s bank.

The donors were De-Suups, trainees of the Faculty of Nursing and Public Health, volunteers from Health Help Centre, and staff of JDWNRH and Ministry of Health, among others.

JDWNRH coordinated the blood donation camp within Thimphu to address the concerns for blood availability, as the donors were restricted to visit the hospital during the lockdown.

JDWNRH’s blood bank in-charge and laboratory officer, Tshering Yangdon, said that due to the donors, there were no shortages of the blood at present. “We extract the 450ml of blood from each donor. The extracted blood is then converted to three by-products—packed red cells, platelets and plasma.”

Of the 450ml, approximately 230ml is used for packed red cells, 220ml for plasma and 50ml for platelets.

As of yesterday, the blood bank had 251 units of packed red cells, 28 units of platelets and 500 units of plasma. Plasma has the maximum expiry days with one year followed by the packed red cells with 35 days and platelets with five days.

Tshering Yangdon said that the blood bank team was worried about the continuity of platelets for the patients amid lockdown. “Around 21 patients received platelets during the lockdown.  Of the 21 patients, 12 of them individually used more than 10 units of platelets. Normally, one patient requires six units of platelets.”

The growing demand for the platelets during lockdown was due to the more patients in the pediatric unit and ICU, adult ICU and medical ward, who were battling cancer and thrombocytopenia (low platelets count).

“The demand for platelets has increased because patient referrals to other countries are restricted. Moreover, platelets have minimum expiry days,” said Tshering Yangdon.

In the normal days, the platelets usage is 200 units on an average in a month, but it has increased to 225 units during the lockdown. At the same time, the use of packed red cells has increased from 300 units to 348 units.

Usually, the demand for plasma is less.

“With the lifting of the lockdown, donors are coming forward. Moreover, social media is playing a major role for this noble cause by disseminating information,” said Tshering Yangdon.

JDWNRH will soon conduct the blood donation camp at Royal Thimphu College, National Institute of Zorig Chusum and Royal Institute of Management upon their request.

Within August 7 to 8, 165 people have donated the blood during the donation camp at folk heritage under Tarayana Foundation and Sangchen Choekhor monastery in Paro.

The blood safety programme under the health ministry also organise the blood donors’ campaign. There is also an online platform (www.bloodsafety.gov.bt) to encourage donors. This platform maintains a profile of the individual donor and total times the person donated the blood. It also has other features such as registration process, appointment date for the donation, enquiries and other relevant information.

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