Coronavirus Pandemic

Combating coronavirus: UAE hospitals adhere to strict blood donation protocol

Filed on April 22, 2020 | Last updated on April 22, 2020 at 07.48 pm
Combating, covid19, coronavirus, UAE hospitals, blood donation, protocols, Covid-19 pandemic

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Movement restrictions have resulted in a steep drop in blood donations due to the sanitization drive.

UAE hospitals are adhering to strict protocols related to the selection of blood donors amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This comes as the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) initiated a blood donation drive on April 22, in collaboration with a major healthcare group in the city.

Hospitals do thorough checks of donor's medical and travel history

Meanwhile, medics assure everyone, that hospitals are following stringent measures pertaining to donor selection and their safety, at the blood donations sites.

Medical centers and their camps abide by all criteria as per World Health Organization (WHO), Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Ministry of Health and Prevention, UAE.

Dr Anthony Thomas Director Diagnostic Services Prime Healthcare Group, said, "Today we had the initiative in a mobile blood donation bus. So, people were required to fill up a detailed questionnaire for eligibility to donate and once they cleared that they could donate blood. A patient's medical history and all other vitals were checked, while the patient's travel history was also now taken into consideration. There was also sufficient distance between donor beds, PPEs and sanitizers were provided."

He adds, "Individuals who showed any virus symptoms, who have tested positive for Covid-19 at any point of time or who were under investigation or quarantine for Covid-19 were not allowed to donate. Also, an individual who had been in close contact with a confirmed case were not permitted to donate."

Reasons for fall in blood donations

It's said around 30-40 per cent fall in blood donations during this period, have been observed due to various reasons.

Movement restrictions have resulted in a steep drop in blood donations due to the sanitization drive. In addition, mass blood donations have dropped drastically due to cancellation of these camps, in order to maintain social distancing.

Medics urge healthy residents to continue blood donations

"Suspension of elective surgeries presently is also a contributing factor in the drop in blood donations. But the Dubai Blood Donation Center is constantly sending out circulars and taking steps to motivate donors to make donations in order to maintain the supply chain", says Dr Akansha Gandhi, Clinical Pathology Specialist, Aster Hospital, Mankhool.

Apparently, letters are issued to relatives of patients by private hospitals, as well as the Dubai Blood Donation Centre (DBDC), to allow to and fro movements in the face of restrictions.

Medical professionals are encouraging residents to continue blood donations urging that it can save many lives.

Specialist Family Medicine, Medcare Medical Centre - Al Khawaneej, Dr. Rasha Alain says, "In this pandemic season so many people stop blood donations, there are a lot of diseases for which patients need blood transfusions. Make sure to wear face mask and avoid close contact with others when you step out for donations. We encourage those with blood group O negative (universal donors) to come and continue donation."

Many blood donors are willing to step up

Meanwhile regular donors admit it's a longer process now, as strict hygiene protocols at these blood donation camps are being maintained.

Manoov Valiyaveettil, a volunteer and founder of Blood Donors 4 U (BD4U) says, "We are witnessing more of mobile blood donation buses now. So, two people at a time are allowed to enter these buses, as social distancing norms need to be adhered to. Earlier our volunteers used to go for walk-in donations at the hospitals itself which have dropped drastically in the current situation."

Another volunteer Syed Alimpeeram says, "I didn't feel any difference as I entered the mobile blood donation bus wearing a mask this time. I am aware that all necessary precautions like fumigation inside the buses are also done regularly. I've been doing it for quite a while now. I have no hesitation whatsoever."

Another regular blood donor Shebin Reghuvaran says, "people who feel for the cause are plenty and many of us are willing to this even now. But as some volunteers don't have cars so picking too many people in one car becomes an issue. These days, there is a number restriction as to how many people can be seated in one car at a time. But I know the authorities are trying their best to resolve all matters." 

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