Nduta (Tanzania) : acute lack of blood bags in the midst of a malaria crisis

Nduta (Tanzania) : acute lack of blood bags in the midst of a malaria crisis

Blood bags are lacking in the health facilities of Nduta camp in Tanzania. The main cause is the withdrawal of blood donors due to poor feeding conditions. Hospitals worry as malaria epidemic rages. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

In almost all hospitals and health centers in Nduta camp in Tanzania, finding a bag of blood is a real challenge. The most affected by this lack are pregnant women, children under five years of age or patients who have undergone surgical operations such as caesarean sections.

This lack of blood bags is beginning to cause victims.

“One child has already died from lack of blood transfusion. It was a case of severe malaria coupled with anemia. We observe a general panic in all the services”, explains a medical volunteer.

The main cause is largely linked to the poor feeding conditions of refugees who refuse to donate blood.

“The ration has been significantly reduced three times since the beginning of this year and at the beginning of each month we expect a possible reduction. So how do you donate blood when you have nothing to eat to recover! Otherwise, a blood donor will become ill and will also need the blood he has donated. Really strange, this situation”, regret Burundian refugees in the Nduta camp.

To try to remedy the situation, health officials launched an unusual campaign.

“The blood collection campaign is currently taking place every two weeks to try to get at least a few bags of blood. But, we do not really notice any enthusiasm as before. It is difficult to receive around ten people for the whole period”, specify our sources within the health structures, recalling that this kind of campaign was normally organized by quarter.

Normally, explain nurses, the hospitals of the Nduta camp could also provide blood to other Tanzanian health structures in the vicinity, but they indicate that for the moment, “even the camp is not enough because the stock of blood is empty”.

The lack of blood scares health professionals and refugees, especially as it occurs in the midst of a malaria crisis.

“We see a lot of patients who need a blood transfusion. And if there is an emergency case, for example a caesarean section, we would normally transfer him to the referral hospital outside the camp with a bag of blood, so if the stock is empty, that means that we we have serious health problems”, camp health officials suggest.

To try to fight against the malaria epidemic, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has just given a hand to IRC (International Rescue Committee) in a treatment campaign.

“MSF will concentrate its efforts more in the health posts. The joint actions are of three kinds : mass testing and treatment of positive cases, distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor spraying”, explain medical volunteers.

These actions are taking place at the camp and in surrounding Tanzanian villages to try to limit the damage to Nduta camp, a high-risk area in the event of such health crises.

The Nduta camp hosts more than 76,000 Burundian refugees.

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