An atmosphere of uncertainty looms at the Bamenda Regional Hospital as the blood bank is reported to be lacking blood due to increasing number of patients.
The situation has become more complicated as the safe donor population especially youths have migrated to safe areas due to crisis leaving the blood bank in this desperate situation.
Officials of the Bamenda Regional Hospital have decried that the increasing challenges is leaving the blood bank empty.
In 2018, the Regional Hospital Bamenda proudly announced the emergency response management scheme, to address the growing number of emergency cases in the North West Region of Cameroon – But there is another lurking problem today is that the scheme is unable to sustain itself due to an empty blood bank.
Sources at the regional hospital have revealed that since 2018 till date, the demand for blood transfusion has increased tremendously because many categories of patients need blood including those referred from hemodialysis centers from the Southwest region, pregnant women with hemorrhage and sickle cell patients.
According to Ako Atabong, chief of center at the blood bank, the sector receives patients from neighboring West region as well as cases of accidents and victims of the ongoing armed conflict.
“We also receive those exposed to high malaria and those with anemia especially children,” says Atabong.
The policy of the hospital that allows patients to bring a donor that can replace the units of blood used by the patient, has also contributed to the high demand of blood.
“We have transfused close to 3000 units as compared to the 5000 units of blood needed for over 500.000 inhabitants of the region. This indicates that the blood bank doesn’t supply sufficient blood required by the population,” Atabong added.
Hospital officials say the blood bank now relies on solidarity organizations, missionaries and good will individuals to get blood.
Blood donation saves lives, thereby promoting sustainable development goal (SDG 3), which aims at ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages, as it is crucial to sustainable development.
Public opinion however holds that in order to achieve this goal by 2030, the Cameroon government needs to bring back stability in the region so the medical personnel can gain access to the safe donor population.
“With security, blood donors can move freely to the hospital and will feel safe. That way, we can organize mobile collections that will create constant blood supply at the hospital. We also need to increase the awareness of blood donation in the region and country as a whole so the community can understand the need for blood,” Atabong said.
With an uncertain ending to the ongoing armed conflict in the two English speaking regions, the situation might worsen days from now.
By Maikem Emmanuela Manzie