Friday, August 12, 2022

‘Public Hospitals dispensing contaminated blood, wrong drugs’ – BONELA

BONELA is currently handling cases involving patients infected with the HIV virus through contaminated blood and others given wrong medication for serious illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS. This was disclosed by the organization’s legal officer, Keikantse Phele.

“This is a very worrying thing that we have government employees who fail to carry out their duties so dismally,” he told Sunday Standard.

Phele says this raises questions on why the National Blood Transfusion Center had first stored such blood in their blood banks and, worst, finally distributed it to hospitals around the country.
“This, in our view, is very worrying and needs the attention of those responsible as soon as possible,” he said. Asked for comment, officials at the National Blood Transfusion Center referred us to the Ministry of Health.

The Principal Public Relations Officer at the Ministry, Doreen Motshegwa, maintained that the Ministry of Health ensures a high level of precaution during blood donation and transfusion processes

“Donors are first screened for transfusion transmissible Infections (TTI’s) which include HIV 1/2, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. During the screening, bar codes are assigned to the different blood bags/blood donations and then taken to NBTS Lab for screening of Transfusion Transmissible Infections (TTI’s) which include HIV 1/2, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

She further explained that “in the quest to try to avoid human errors which may happen during the process, two Lab Technicians/Lab Scientists conduct the testing separately and independent of each other and thereafter feed the results to the computer software called Safe Trace which is used to track blood from vein to vein. Transfusion services maintain adequate supply of blood and blood products, including blood typing and cross-matching patients before releasing blood for donation. The third person then verifies the findings of the first two and commits the results to avoid patients contracting communicable diseases.”

Motshegwa says all blood that is collected is tested for the four TTI’s mentioned above. Blood which is positive from any of the TTI’s is incinerated to avoid contamination. Blood is stored at the National Blood Transfusion Service lab awaiting orders from the hospitals before being sent there for use. Packed Red Blood Cells are kept for 42 days at 3-5 degrees Celsius. Frozen Fresh Plasma is kept for a year at -18 and -30 degrees Celsius and finally Platelets are kept for 5 days at room temperature, that is 22 ÔÇô 24 degrees Celsius.

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