Blood bank appeals to parents
LESOTHO Blood Transfusion Services (LBTS) Manager, Maleqhoa Nyopa has appealed to parents to allow their children to donate blood and alleviate the shortages which have reached crisis proportions in the country.
Speaking to the Sunday Express yesterday, Ms Nyopa said they had experienced challenges in getting blood donations from students after the Ministry of Education and Training directed in February that the latter could only donate if their parents indicated their approval by signing consent forms.
“There was a time when blood donations were put on hold at schools until the consent forms were introduced,” Ms Nyopa said, adding, “We thought this would bring things back to normal and we would get blood from schools but it has been a totally different story”.
“When we ask for donations, teachers have to give learners consent forms who take them to their parents for approval.
“But the feedback is usually very depressing as the teachers will tell us that only a few, maybe five or even 10 consent forms were returned to the school,” Ms Nyopa said.
She therefore, appealed to the parents to sign the forms to enable their children to donate blood and save lives, adding that the blood bank was in a serious crisis that continued to deepen with each passing day.
“We need to make them (parents) aware that their children’s lives are safe with us and nothing has changed when people donate blood although the consent forms were introduced.
“The forms were only introduced out of respect for the parents and as an acknowledgement that they were aware that their children had been asked to volunteer to donate blood.
“We have asked teachers to invite us to the parents’ meetings so that we can speak to parents and make them aware of the importance of blood donations as well as to brief them about the precautions we take when donating blood,” Ms Nyopa said.
She said they now got most of the blood from tertiary institutions, police officers, soldiers and correctional services officers.
However, this fell far short of meeting the needs of hospitals countrywide, resulting in situations where family members were forced to donate blood to their ailing relatives.
Ms Nyopa said even this was a challenge on its own because sometimes the relatives’ blood groups did not match with that of the patients.
Ms Nyopa said the appeal was not just to learners but the entire nation to donate blood and save lives.