Muscat: After reports of severe shortage of blood at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH), the hospital has called for blood donations.
However, the shortage has not resulted in the postponement of appointments or surgeries so far, owing to the major social and radio media campaign launched by the hospital authorities urging the public to come forward and visit the blood bank to donate blood.
The hospital’s blood bank is open from 7:30 am until 9:00 pm from Saturday to Thursday.
One company is taking this initiative seriously. Abu Timam Grant Thornton (GT) has completed a CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiative, which involves 50 people, who donated blood.
Azhar Ahmad, manager of Audit and Assurance and the CSR Committee’s chairman at GT said, “A few weeks or months back, we saw a Times of Oman story about the shortage of blood, so our committee, which comprises of six members, decided we should start a campaign.”
Doctors and nurses from the Baushar Blood Bank were at the scene to collect the blood and store it in the bank. The blood will then be distributed to the hospital as required.
“If this campaign becomes successful, then we will definitely plan it at least once a year,” said Ahmad.
Nasser Al Mughairy, managing partner at GT said, “This was a new idea; initially we felt it was not going to happen because of the conditions set by the blood bank.”
Many of GT’s employees travel abroad to countries, such as Pakistan and India, as well as African nations, which would make them ineligible for the blood donation due to the health risks that could be contained in the blood.
“But I’m happy with the efforts made by everybody to make it happen,” Al Mughairy said, adding, “We are making the effort because of the shortage and the message is to save a life through such contributions.”
Some felt that it is important to donate blood in order to save lives, for Muhannad Barwani, it is of great importance to save lives.
“Saving lives is really important and it’s a shame that a lot of people here don’t want to donate blood,” Barwani said.
“I feel great (on the other hand) and hopeful I can do something like this at least once a month. It’s a pleasure really,” he further added.
“We were lucky on the clinical level as the wards are not full with patients. who require immediate and critical surgeries,” Dr. Arwa Al Riyami, senior consultant hematopathologist and chairperson of the Blood Donation Committee at SQUH, said.
Al Riyami added that blood disorders, cancer, accidents and cardio surgery patients get a priority as recipients for the blood donated.
Although Oman suffers from a lack of donors throughout the year, Al Riyami said the summer and holiday seasons are the driest ones as many people travel outside the country.
“During the month of Ramadan, the shortage increases as people fast, and avoid donating blood,” said Al Riyami, adding that the SQUH blood bank had expanded its working hours to 24 hours during Ramadan.
Asked if the hospital plans to reward donors with cash, the doctor said that such acts are not recommended by the World Health Organisation and that advocate volunteers should donate for pure humane reasons.
However, Al Riyami said the hospital’s administration plans to send an SMS to donors to thank them and remind them to donate every three months.