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Crisis as blood bank runs dry

Limpho Sello

A BLOOD shortage of crisis proportions looms this festive season amid revelations that the Lesotho Blood Transfusion Services (LBTS) has run out of stocks of some blood types.

LBTS blood donor recruiter Khatala Liphoto recently told the Sunday Express that the blood bank has completely run out of the O+/- blood groups and it currently has less than 50 blood units of the blood groups A+, B+ and AB+.

Mr Liphoto described the situation as a “crisis”, adding that for the blood bank to have enough blood during the festive season, there must be a minimum of 200 blood units. Sixty percent of the 200 blood units should be blood group O+/- which is compatible with other blood types.

“It is only with that minimum amount of 200 blood units that we can say that there is enough blood to address emergencies during the festive season,” Mr Liphoto said, adding, “in a nutshell the blood bank is dry”.

He called on the public to visit their four offices in Maseru, Butha-Buthe and Mohale’s Hoek to donate blood before Christmas.

He said the situation was aggravated by the closure of the factories whose employees were important blood donors.

“We have nowhere to go and ask for blood donations except going to public places such as malls and shopping complex and wait for individuals to donate as they run their errands.

“Maybe in the coming days will get something because we are going to Liqhobong but I’m sure this will not make a huge difference.

“Apart from that, we have hospitals already asking for blood as they know there is a high demand during this time of the year where there will be several accidents that cause injuries with great blood loss.”

Mr Liphoto said due to the blood crisis, the motorists and the rest of the public had an added responsibility to drive safely, observe all road regulations and to stay out of trouble this festive season.

“We appeal to the public to drive safely, avoid speeding, drunk driving and to ensure their vehicles are road worthy to avoid accidents. Those who will be attending functions need to ensure that they stay away from trouble for the sake of their lives.

“Should there be many accidents this festive season that will present a huge challenge of blood shortages thus putting many lives at risk,” Mr Liphoto said.

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