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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs