News / Health

Cameroon Blood Banks Dwindling Amid Infected Donors

Photo blood units are prepared for storage at the National Center for Hematology and Transfusion in Sofia (File Photo).Photo blood units are prepared for storage at the National Center for Hematology and Transfusion in Sofia (File Photo).
x
Photo blood units are prepared for storage at the National Center for Hematology and Transfusion in Sofia (File Photo).
Photo blood units are prepared for storage at the National Center for Hematology and Transfusion in Sofia (File Photo).
Blood banks in Cameroon are facing a crisis because of the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis infections among blood donors.  Up to 2010, the Central African subregion had a six percent prevalent rate of hepatitis and Cameroon alone had 16 percent, almost the same figures for HIV. 
 
For the past three years, the general hospital in Yaounde has not been able to fill 40 percent of its 75,000 blood bags. The consequence is that many patients in the hospital are asked to bring their family members to donate blood. 
 
Nelson Tawe has a sick relative who needed blood. He said a friend who was asked to donate was unable to help because his blood was tainted. 
 
"It is very, very bad, it's a very, very bad experience. We were told that the blood was infected with hepatitis. Imagine that the blood had not been tested. My relative would have been infected with hepatitis. I do not know which of the hepatitis but it is God's mercy that keeps us on the safe side all the times," he said. 
 
Dr. Biwole Sida, an official at the hospital, told VOA that many people in Cameroon are now afraid to donate blood because they must first be tested for hepatitis, which remains a major health problem in the country.
 
Dr. Sida said the prevalence rate in Cameroon for hepatitis B and C varies between 10 and 13 percent.
 
Ndasi Elvis, a popular doctor in Cameroon who owns a private clinic, said hepatitis has only added to a long list of reasons why blood supplies are dwindling.
 
"You see, if hepatitis B is already at 10 to 13 percent prevalence rate and HIV at 5.4, then you can imagine that this will considerably reduce blood that would have been given for transfusion," he said. 
 
Dr. Elvis added that he knows many patients who have died in hospitals because there was no blood to give them.
 
"When you go to the hospital and you are severely anemic and there is no blood at the blood bank and there is no body to donate at that point in time, then you are left with nothing but death. If you go through, you look, you must have seen each one family or the other may have lost a relative because there was no blood," he said. 
 
Local grassroots associations are being created in the country help contribute to the blood supply. 
 
"We created this association to help hospitals and people in need of blood. Imagine that people die because they do not have blood. We contribute blood donated by our members and give the blood to those in need," said Cyril Ngaska, who leads one such association.
 
Some health care officials say the main reason why people do not donate blood is the fear of knowing their serological status and if they are infected with hepatitis. Cameroon's minister of public health, Andre Mama Fouda, has been piloting a campaign for people, especially the youth to accept being tested.
 
Fouda said he urges all young people who have not done so to get tested for HIV. He says if the results are positive, do not be discouraged. Follow the advice given by your doctors and you shall be taken care of. For those of you who are tested negative, maintain your serological status so as to create harmony when you get married.
 
As Cameroon's population has increased, so has the need for blood. The country's population today is about 22 million people. Also, the number of accidents have drastically increased with about a hundred reported each month. Last year, about 1,500 people died of road accidents in Cameroon, according to figures published by the country's Ministry of Transport. 

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More