Blood Bank Says More Stocks Are Needed to Meet Demand

The National Blood Transfusion Center (NBTC) will launch a website this month aimed at encouraging more people to donate blood as stocks at the center are still critically low and hundreds of units short of meeting demand, the center’s director said Monday.

Dr. Hok Kim Cheng said more than 500 units of blood are necessary for the center to meet ordinary demand from hospitals, but the blood bank currently has only 200 units. To spread awareness of the lack of blood, the center will launch a website later this month appealing to the public for donations.

“We need at least more than 500 units to be in stock in our center in order for us to feel secure,” Dr. Kim Cheng said. “We are launching a website which will give information to people on the conditions and the places where they can donate blood.”

Since Thursday, the center has had 10 walk-ins to donate blood, he said Monday.

Typically, the NBTC receives 1,000 units per month from university students but over the school vacation period, the center has suffered a sharp decrease in donations, Dr. Kim Cheng said last week, adding that do­nors with blood types O and B were most desperately needed.

At the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, five to 10 units of blood are typically needed each day for transfusions during surgeries, said Dr. Chuon Yao Yeng, deputy director of the hospital.

“Some days, we need 10 units. They are for surgeries, and for people who are weak who need blood transfusions,” he said. “We need four to five units to always be at the hospital.”

Dr. Lim Kruy, director of the medical department and research education at the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope, said the hospital does not keep any blood units and relies either on individual donations from the patients’ families or on the NBTC.

“[The amount needed] de­pends on the patients’ problems, like malaria, which requires blood transfusions,” Dr. Kruy said, adding that most trauma cases go to the other hospitals around Phnom Penh, so Siha­nouk Hospital relies on the NBTC on a case-by-case basis.

“When we really need it, we will ask for urgent transfusions [from NBTC] and they would give it to us.”

Sek Mardy, the World Health Organization’s national professional officer for blood safety, said the drop in donations could also be partially attributed to the post-election climate.

“I think we need to have a peaceful environment in order to have blood donor recruitment and we need to wait a little bit more time until after the situation has been settled,” Mr. Mardy said. “The [political] situation affects everybody. It affects the blood donor and the blood collector.”

Provincial blood banks around the country last week reported that only 40 units of blood remained in Kompong Cham province—where there is a demand each month for 230 units—and Banteay Meanchey province had 60 units but typically needs 100 a month.

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