The national referral hospital is not the only institution that has a problem with a dwindling supply of blood. According to the Director of Health Services, Marvin Manzanero it is a situation that is facing all healthcare facilities. He told us that there is a year-round blood drive for Belizeans to donate blood.
Marvin Manzanero Director of Health Services: “We noticed the low blood supply towards the end of last year and the blood bank has always been pushing for blood supplies to be routinely kept and so we had sent out a memo even before the Christmas and the New Years Holidays were upon us to tell regional Hospital to exercise caution in terms of how they were going to go about their blood supply and that means that you are probably going to have less elective surgeries if you don’t have adequate blood supply. I know the Western Regional Hospital has made an appeal earlier this year and I believe a Blood Bank in Belize on January 19th is having a blood drive and so that is part of the ongoing process. Unfortunately we are one of the countries that have one of the lowest voluntary blood donations happening, one of the lower ratios in the region if not the lowest ratio in the region so people would only routinely donate blood once they know a family members is going to be having surgery so it is not that you have routine blood donors going in to keep the demand of blood products in the country and then when you have road traffic accident and gun violence those are the ones that are most going to be using blood supply so any blood that you may have in stock can be depleted rather quickly . The call is always going to be there, we are trying to do blood drives not only in Belize City but at the regional Hospitals and we are going to try to see if we can expand the hours that people can donate and maybe have that on weekends because sometimes people will say well I work 8 to 5 to I can’t donate then. We will look at different incentives to try to bring people on board. That’s part of the plans that we have for this year.”