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Regardless of the gentle lockdown and home-isolation measures in place, Siriruk Tientong doesn’t hesitate to depart the home. Her mission is evident: to donate blood — an exercise the workplace employee has been engaged in frequently for the previous 4 years.
“We include a want to assist individuals,” mentioned Siriruk. Nonetheless, this time she got here together with her siblings after studying in regards to the dangerously low blood provides on the Nationwide Blood Centre.
“We have ready ourselves by maintaining a healthy diet meals and taking good relaxation previous to donating blood. To cut back the chance of Covid-19 an infection, we drove from house reasonably than utilizing the BTS or MRT to verify our blood is clear and protected for sufferers. The centre itself has normal measures in place to maintain guests protected,” mentioned Siriruk, who serves as an assistant to a managing director at World Professional Journey.
The Thai Crimson Cross Society is dealing with a blood scarcity disaster as individuals don’t need to depart their houses amid the Covid-19 outbreak. The variety of blood donors at its Nationwide Blood Centre has dropped by greater than 50%. Whereas the nationwide each day demand for blood is 2,500 models, the Nationwide Blood Centre can now contribute just one,500 models, which implies these with blood-related ailments are in danger. Because of this, hospitals across the nation have postponed all non-essential surgical procedures and operations to handle their blood shares successfully.
“After we inspired individuals to donate blood, the variety of donors elevated final month however it’s nonetheless not sufficient. To cut back the demand for blood throughout this time, medical doctors have determined to make use of medication to alleviate signs reasonably than go for surgical procedure. This is not good for the longer term well being of sufferers however medical doctors must prioritise circumstances like large bleeding, labour-related difficulties or these concerned in street accidents,” mentioned Pawinee Kupatawintu, deputy director of the Nationwide Blood Centre on the Thai Crimson Cross Society.
A donor on the Nationwide Blood Centre. (Images by Jetjaras Na Ranong)
Far-off from Bangkok, 12 provincial blood centres are additionally experiencing a provide disaster as a result of lockdown measures as they haven’t obtained donations from different provinces. The provincial blood centre community usually distributes 1,400 models of blood however in the intervening time they’re solely in a position to meet 60-70% of each day wants.
Within the South, the seaside cities of Phuket, Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat are additionally encouraging wholesome individuals to come back out and donate blood. The favored resort city of Nakhon Ratchasima within the Northeast can be dealing with the identical dilemma.
“Now we have to distribute extra blood to the provincial centres to unravel the scarcity disaster. Usually, hospitals could have the emergency shares to make use of for the subsequent few days which implies we often have time to rearrange supply providers,” Pawinee mentioned.
“Now we have our personal transportation system, so the closing of public transportation has not affected us. Furthermore, we are able to additionally make use of home flights to move blood to the countryside.”
At current, individuals affected by thalassemia, leukaemia, haemophilia and thrombopathia are on the prime of the ready record for blood transfusions. That is the one technique to save their lives.
“In response to the experiences by the Ministry of Public Well being, there are round 15,000 thalassemia sufferers with extreme signs who require blood transfusion twice a month. Every affected person should obtain two models of blood to allow them to stay a traditional life,” Pawinee mentioned.
“Blood transfusion can be important for most cancers sufferers as a result of chemotherapy programs may cause fatigue and result in deadly bleeding.”
Folks examine their blood strain previous to donation.
Throughout a latest go to, Siriruk admitted that the Nationwide Blood Centre was not as crowded as common apparently as a result of persons are anxious in regards to the danger of contracting Covid-19.
“I sometimes spend two hours ready in a queue however immediately it took solely 30 minutes,” she mentioned.
The Nationwide Blood Centre is now working laborious to ease individuals’s fear of contracting the coronavirus although. Following steerage from the Division of Illness Management, the Nationwide Blood Centre is utilizing disinfectant and alcohol to sanitise the ground and frequently-touched surfaces and medical home equipment as viruses within the air are killed by ozone sterilisation. Furthermore, all donors are required to put on a face masks and take a self-screening take a look at to make sure they don’t seem to be susceptible to Covid-19.
“We take the temperature of all guests on the entrance and comply with social distancing practices to make sure security. To guard the sufferers, all donors are additionally required to take a self-screening take a look at for Covid-19 which can’t be examined for within the blood. Now we have to belief them. That is to make advantage and there’s no want for individuals to hide their well being historical past. For donors who do take a look at constructive for Covid-19, they will donate blood one month after a full restoration,” Pawinee mentioned.
Siriruk’s brother is an effective instance of self-screening. He was finding out in Guilin, China, however returned to Bangkok in February.
“His blood examined unfavorable twice for Covid-19 and he additionally produced a medical certificates throughout the screening take a look at,” Siriruk recounted.
Donated blood may be divided into three parts — crimson blood cells, platelets and blood plasma.
“He has convulsions however his well being has been bettering for a number of years. A health care provider defined that this posed no danger for blood recipients however that he might relapse after donating blood. A health care provider allowed him to decide and he mentioned ‘sure’ with out hesitation.”
The donation course of takes about 15-30 minutes and other people can donate between 350cc to 450cc of blood, relying on their weight. Due to superior know-how, all models of donated blood are examined for a number of ailments like viral hepatitis B and C, HIV, and syphilis.
Donated blood is split into three parts — crimson blood cells, platelets and blood plasma. The transfusion of crimson blood cells will help these with continual anaemia and sufferers with acute blood loss.
Platelets are often utilised in most cancers remedies and surgical procedures like organ transplants to regulate bleeding within the physique whereas plasma is often transfused to these with extreme liver illness or a number of clotting issue deficiencies and burn accidents.
“A donor can donate 500cc of plasma each 14 days, which implies the Nationwide Blood Centre can present 700 litres of plasma monthly. In addition to getting used for blood transfusions, a number of the plasma can be used to supply three medication — albumin, a protein complement for these affected by liver illness, issue VIII focus, which is used to cease bleeding in haemophilia sufferers, and immunoglobin, which helps increase immunity for these affected by viral hepatitis B,” Pawinee added.
When a vaccine is developed, the centre is planning to affix fingers with the Ministry of Public Well being to conduct analysis on blood plasma from recovered Covid-19 sufferers. It’s believed that remedy utilizing blood plasma might turn into a life-saving resolution for extreme circumstances, based on Yong Poovorawan, a medical professor in paediatric hepatology and in addition an knowledgeable in virology at Chulalongkorn College.
“Donors can register on-line by way of our web site and they are going to be examined for the virus 14 days previous to donating blood. The donors have to be between the ages of 17 and 60 they usually should weigh greater than 50kg and never have any continual ailments like hypertension or diabetes. For these contaminated with viral hepatitis B, we have used their blood plasma to supply serum,” Pawinee mentioned.
To offer comfort for the general public, the centre can be providing cell donation providers by visiting condominiums, villages and workplaces to gather blood for a gaggle of 20-30 individuals. Nonetheless, individuals who want to donate privately could make an appointment with the Nationwide Blood Centre.
“Donors are required to replace their telephone numbers in order that we are able to ship an SMS and encourage them to donate blood. This can be a technique to immediately talk with donors to unravel blood shortages at the moment,” Pawinee mentioned.
Siriruk added: “Whereas the nation is present process the disaster, that is the best technique to make advantage with out paying something.”
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