by Charmaine Ngatjiheue
There is an urgent need for blood donors to donate, as the Namibia Blood Transfusion Services (NamBTS) faces a severe blood shortage.
The shortage is due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
This was announced by this morning’s panellists at the Covid-19 communication centre, who were discussing World Blood Donor Day and the importance of donating blood during the current pandemic.
The panellists said Covid-19 led to an extreme blood shortage, calling for relooking business models.
NamBTS educational officer Titus Shivute said there was a shortage of blood donations in the first stage of lockdown.
He said NamBTS faces a 30% decline in blood supply as most donations are from schools and universities as a result of not being able to set up mobile blood donation clinics.
He said the lockdown and travel restrictions led to a number of NamBTS services being put on hold. Shivute said there was a need for NamBTS to relook its business model to adapt to the new normal.
“We urge all blood donors and potential donors to practice a healthy sexual lifestyle. We also urge blood donors to consistently donate blood,” he said.
Shivute said Namibia currently has only 27 000 active donors – only 1% of the total population. He said more people are encouraged to donate blood, because Namibians still need blood on a regular basis.
The World Health Organisation’s focal person for Infection Prevention and Control for the Covid-19 response, Dr. Mary Brantuo, said it is safe for people to donate blood during the Covid-19 pandemic. People are still getting sick, despite the pandemic, she said. She said safety measures are in place and social distancing can still be maintained while donating blood.