Chitwan low on blood reserves as donation events are halted over coronavirus fearsThere is a demand for 150 pints of blood daily.
The regional office of the Nepal Red Cross Society’s Blood Transfusion Service Center in Chitwan is running out of blood reserves. To fill the blood shortage gap, the center needs to conduct blood donation programmes, but the local administration has prohibited all forms of gatherings and social events as a preventive measure against the spread of novel coronavirus.
Hospitals in the region could face blood shortage if the situation continues where the center is unable to conduct regular blood donation programmes, said Gyanshali Neupane, chairman of the Chitwan branch of Nepal Red Cross Society.
There is a demand for 150 pints of blood daily. There used to be at least two blood donation programmes daily to meet this demand before the coronavirus outbreak.
“Blood donation programmes were also organised during the anniversary, annual general meeting, conference or any auspicious occasion. But such programmes are not being organised these days,” said Neupane.
According to the Nepal Red Cross Society, the center must collect over 4,000 pints of blood every month to meet the demand.
Rameshkanta Paudel, chief at the centre, said the center supplies 75 pints of blood for the cancer patients in BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital daily.
“One patient needs more than one pint of blood at one sitting. The center may not be able to meet the blood demand of the hospital without blood donation programmes,” Paudel said. “We are not meeting even one-fourth of the blood demand these days.”
The center has asked the hospitals and relatives of patients to find donors in case of emergency.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 22, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 31,405,983 people with 967,505 deaths and 22,990,260 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,557,573 with 88,943 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 306,304 confirmed cases with 6,420 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 65,276 cases with 427 deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.