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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid