Nation responds to blood donation call

Samoa’s blood supply is full again after nearly 100 people showed up in just a week to donate blood to a nation in crisis.

Nearly 40 per cent of all measles cases have required hospitalisation, and the intensive care unit has been at capacity for nearly the entire epidemic.

There are now 2,686 cases of measles and 33 deaths as a result, 29 of which are children under four-years-old. 

The demand for blood from donors has been high, Samoa Red Cross Society leader Lauvao Isara Iose said, not only for measles patients but for others too, which are still about a third of all patients in the hospitals.

The Red Cross put out a call on Facebook on Monday last week for blood donations. Since then, nearly 100 people showed up, raising 100 pints of blood and nearly over supplying the laboratory. 

“It was a huge turnout of people wanting to give donations to the hospital, we want to acknowledge the support of the country,” Acting Secretary General Lauvao said.

Individuals, businesses and church groups all pitched in to do their part.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered nine wards in the A’ana district, and raised a whopping 45 pints of blood. 

The Ministry of Health laboratory has told the Red Cross the supply is plentiful for now. The challenge with the blood supply is it cannot be kept for too long, so the supply cannot be too large in case it gets wasted.

Lauvao said on an average week, maybe ten people come to the Red Cross to donate blood. Having close to 100 people come instead was amazing.

“It’s good that our people are responding to the call, showing the good Samaritans within them and trying to help each other,” he said.” 

Should the need arise again, another announcement will be made via Facebook on the Samoa Red Cross page.

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