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Belize, Marvin Manzanero , Director of Health Services, Hospital

Ministry experiences blood shortage countrywide

In yesterday’s newscast we told you of the shortage at the blood bank at the Western Regional Hospital.  Today, however, Love News learnt that the shortage extends countrywide.  There is now a call to the public for donors to step up and give blood.  Officials grew concerned close to the end of last year; Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero explained the situation and what the ministry is doing to control it.

Marvin Manzanero Director of Health: “We were aware of that prior to holiday season and people are less likely to make it in the holiday season and because of the potential increase in terms of emergency cases for road traffic accidents, against gun violence we would have had an increase so we would have sent out a memo before the holiday period to indicate people to be very cautious and methodic in the way we were going to use blood products. I know the Western Health Region had more of a crisis situation that they reported and flagged yesterday so they managed to get some blood products from San Ignacio Community Hospital because they also have a small blood bank and they had to put some elected surgeries on hold because emergency cases will take president over elective surgeries. I haven’t gotten the response from central medical lab but what the regions are doing now is that they are trying to have their own blood drive over the next couple of weeks to see how much more blood we can get but I think it doesn’t need to be an ongoing process of lobbying people for donation of blood products.”

Manzanero says that the shortage is the result of the Belizean culture which does not look at giving blood as being crucial.

Marvin Manzanero Director of Health: “I don’t think it has been a culture of donating blood. I don’t think we have that much amount of blood donation donors that go and on donate blood entirely but actually most of the blood that I think we are getting in our blood banks is usually people that are going to get an elective surgery and we usually ask them to have one or two blood donors come in not because the blood is going to necessarily be used but as a means of trying to get some blood products into the system but I think we traditionally have a poor culture in terms of blood donation. I think over the last couple of years we have tried to build up data blood drive day and I think some other NGOs have tried to promote that donation but Belize in the region ranks as one of the lowest voluntary blood donation populations in the region if not the lowest.”

Donation of blood can be done via blood drives, at the regional hospitals or at the Central Health Lab in Belize City.  When it comes to blood types, Dr Manzanero says all types are needed; O Positive is the most commonly used and AB is the most rare.////