Covid outbreak causes blood shortage in Korat

Covid outbreak causes blood shortage in Korat

A young woman has her temperature checked before donating blood at a Thai Red Cross unit at Terminal 21 shopping centre, Nakhon Ratchasima, on Wednesday. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)
A young woman has her temperature checked before donating blood at a Thai Red Cross unit at Terminal 21 shopping centre, Nakhon Ratchasima, on Wednesday. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Many hospitals in this northeastern province are reporting a dire shortage of blood for transfusions, as the new wave of Covid-19 has scared away donors.

Sirilak Piakkhunthod, chief of the 5th National Blood Centre of the Thai Red Cross Society, said the shortage in the province dates back to mid-December, when the latest Covid-19 outbreak began.

Adding to the problem, all blood donation units at schools, universities and private companies were closed during the long New Year holiday.

Since these units reopened on Jan 4, the Covid-19 pandemic had become more serious and scared away potential donors.

As a result, the Red Cross blood centre was unable to fill requests from some hospitals. 

Before the latest Covid-19 outbreak, the centre had been supplying about 500 bags of blood a day to hospitals. Red Cross mobile units accepted donations at universities, schools, factories and government offices and there was a sufficient supply.

Since then, schools and universities had been temporarily closed and the number of donors at blood centres dropped by about 90%.

The shortage had become a big problem for hospitals in need of blood for patients undergoing surgery, Ms Sirilak said.

As news of the shortage spread on Wednesday, people began arriving at the Red Cross blood donation unit at the Terminal 21 shopping centre. Many were young people.

Rattanasuda Santiprasert, 24, was among those who gave blood. She learned of the  shortage from social media.

She believed the Covid-19 situation in Nakhon Ratchasima was controllable and had confidence that all blood taking units operated by the Red Cross had reliable hygiene standards and posed no risk of infection.

Ms Sirilak said people could conveniently donate blood at six venues in the province - the 5th National Blood Centre in Muang district, Terminal 21 shopping centre, Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University, Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital, The Mall shopping centre and the provincial office of the Thai Red Cross Society.

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