Blood Banks in Yemen: The Aspirations and the Reality [Archives:1998/25/Health]

June 22 1998

Ahlam Al-Mutawakil,
Yemen Times
Under the theme of ‘Blood Banks Between Reality and Objective,’ the Third Scientific Forum for Diagnostic Medicine was held on Wednesday, 17 June by 3rd and 4th year students and staff in the College of Medicine at Sanaa University.
The event included a seminar and an exhibition of collages, public information cartoons and maquettes made by the students of possible future blood bank buildings.
Dr. Sameer Abdulghani Tarish, head of the Hematology Research Department at the College of Medicine, said: “Major problems facing blood banks in Yemen include the lack of a qualified and competent administration and lack of proper facilities. Qualified people must be available to treat donated blood and be able to extract its needed by-products.
“The students have put a lot of effort and money in organizing this forum. They had to travel to other governorates to look into their blood banks and report back to the seminar.”

Ms. Ibtisam Al-Sadiq, a participant student, said: “I visited a number of hospitals with my colleagues, and came out with the general conclusion that the staff is adequate but there is not enough equipment and facilities.”A paper on establishing a model blood bank in Yemen was submitted by Ms. Tanseem M. Al-Haddad, who visited several hospitals and noticed that “none has a model blood bank.”

Mr. Fa’hmi A. Al-Qobati, a student participant, said: “Blood banks in Sanaa hospitals are generally below standards. Not analyzing or treating donated blood properly, can lead to the spread of many diseases such as hepatitis, AIDS and others.”

Ms. Libya M. Mahyoob, who visited hospitals in Sanaa, Taiz and Hodeida, said: “I noticed big differences among the hospitals I visited. Some are quite lacking in basic equipment and facilities; while, others have modern and sophisticated equipment which are often out of order because the staff are not qualified enough to operate them.
At the end of the seminar, the students made the following recommendations:
1 ) Blood bank services must be well organized.
2 ) Recruitment of donors, through establishing the blood bank centers, which is called the “donor panel organizer,” should function as follows:
* A few weeks before the collection of donors, the donor panel organizer starts propaganda work; arranging lectures, personal interviews, preparation & distribution of posters and leaflets etc.
* Making oral communication.
* Written communication.
* Educating young people.
* Educating the relatives and friends of hospital patients.
* Dealing with donors.
It is appropriate to give small awards to donors, such as:
* Badges, given after the first donation.
* Thank you cards.
* Certificates.
* Stationary gifts.
3 ) Evolving standard procedure and quality control tests, for all levels of the national service.
4 ) Training the directors and chief technicians of the newly developed centers.
5 ) Establishing an active research program for the development or adaptation of new technology and for the assessment of the real needs for the country.
6 ) Preparing standard regents, solutions and call panels for itself and other centers in the country.
7 ) Providing blood banks around the country with the blood derivatives.
8 ) Organize and operate adequate care units.
9 ) Providing appropriate transport.
10 ) The use of computers for the blood transfusions.
11 ) Connection between the blood banks, centers and other international organizations.