Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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By Elizabeth Enanga Mokake — A medical doctor and specialist in catastrophe medicine, Dr. Simeon Koutang, of the Cameroon Red Cross, CRC, says the nation’s blood bank is nearly empty.
Dr. Koutang made the disclosure in Yaounde at Government Bilingual Practising High School, GBPHS, on January 16, during a campaign for voluntary blood donation.

The Red Cross specialist said there are many people in hospitals who need blood transfusion, but there are no blood donors. He said these people could either be victims of accidents or natural and human catastrophes. “Twenty percent of women die during childbirth because of lack of blood,” he said.

The medic said the one-month campaign, which kicked-off last December 20, aims at sensitising the population on the importance of voluntary blood donation and equally to get potential donors. He added that though a packet of blood is 500 millilitres, only between 250 millilitres and 500 millilitres of blood are extracted from the donor depending on the weight and age. It is worth noting that an individual below 18 years cannot donate blood, or better still one whose weight is not up to 50 kilograms.

Before collecting blood from donors, the team from the Cameroon Red Cross and collaborators from the Yaounde Central Hospital sensitised students of GBPHS on the importance of donating blood. “After we were sensitised on the importance and the criteria of donating blood, I was moved because I realised I could save a life. Though some of my classmates were unwilling to donate blood, I volunteered to donate,” explained a Lower Sixth student, Ngatia Fofack.

Unlike Fofack, some students who were willing to donate their blood were not qualified to do so. “I was willing to be counted as one of the blood donors in my school but unfortunately I’m just 16 years old,” said another student, Blessing Ngalem. Although the visit to GBPHS Yaounde initially targeted only students, onlookers were moved to also donate blood.

First published in The Post print edition no 01498