Blood donors respond but demand high

Members of the public have responded to the appeal from the Tupua Tamasese Meaole (TTM) National Hospital for blood donation.

But the hospital’s blood bank is unable to store extra bags for future use, due to the high demand from the patients and hospital staff.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, laboratory technician Makai Muaulu said they received “a lot” of blood donations last week but it was not enough. 

Donor bleeding or blood donations can be done at the TTM hospital’s laboratory and pathology office at the Primary Health Care building (old Labour Ward opposite Sefo’s rental buildings or by Samoa Red Cross Society).

Ms. Muaulu said the procedure is done manually but there is a process to follow before the donation is done. 

“First we need to test for their blood type, we interview them for any permanent conditions, check blood percentage if they have enough and then we do the tests for any blood transmissible diseases.

“Some of the questions that may be asked are, whether or not the donor has donated before, is taking any pills or if they have gotten a tattoo lately, 

“If the donor is female, we ask if she’s menstruating, breastfeeding or has a child from five years or under as these may be factors obstructing the donor from giving blood,” she added. 

She also clarified that if a donor wanted to donate again, he or she has a recovery time between donations of three months.

One blood bag donation can save up to three lives, she added and can help patients who are suffering from life-threatening conditions, support complex medical and surgical procedures, and is critical in maternal and child care as well as emergencies during man-made and natural disasters.

First time donors, teenagers and women have a high risk of a reaction, but most of these reactions are minor. These include bruising of the arm from needle insertion, but for patients exposed to iron overload, a blood donation can prevent the accumulation of deadly quantities of iron in the body.

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