NZ Blood Services has thanked the Kiwi Indian community and people identifying themselves as Indians for their regular blood donations that help the greater community in need.
Speaking to the Indian Weekender, Marketing and Communications Manager from NZ Blood Services, Asuka Burge commended the Indian community for their continuous support and encouraged the community to keep donating blood even during Alert Level 3.
Ms Burge added that of the 110,000 blood donors registered with NZ Blood Services, Indians contribute roughly six per cent of all donors which is a good figure given Kiwi Indians comprise 5 per cent of the whole New Zealand population.
NZ Blood Services is deemed as essential services since the lockdown and has been operational in all its nine donation centres in the last four weeks.
Ms Burge added that in the initial days of the lockdown the blood donation numbers declined as people were unaware of the services continued but soon through social media messaging about its ‘Essential Service’ listing, the number of appointments went up.
Asuka Burge, Marketing and Communications Manager from NZ Blood Services
“As for now, the stock with NZ Blood Services is healthy as the demand for blood for elective surgeries have reduced now because hospitals haven’t been doing elective surgeries during this time,” Ms Burge said.
NZ Blood Services, even during this Alert Level 4 and transitioning into Level 3 next week, is encouraging community members to check their eligibility on its website and book appointments, so the flow of blood donations continue as the country has entered into the winter months.
“Regular blood donations will match the donors coming in and the demand for blood we see,” Ms Burge added.
Ms Burge affirmed that all its blood donation centres, even mobile centres practised every precaution protocol given by the Ministry of Health during this Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown.
“We now have a donor host to every donor who comes to the centre. They are immediately checked if they are healthy and well and if they have travelled in the last 28 days, and if they have been in contact with a confirmed Covid-19 patient and then they are instructed inside to maintain social distancing.
“We have hand sanitisers not just for our staff but also for the visitors, all our beds are two metres apart, the staff is geared in their PPEs, and every single bed is cleaned after every single donation,” Ms Burge added.
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As the shelf life of blood collected in only 35 days, NZ Blood has been cautious while matching the demand from the hospitals and monitor the supply on a daily basis so that they can avoid by over and under-collection of blood.
“We particularly monitor what blood groups do we have in the bank so that we know what we need more in terms of demand from the hospitals,” Ms Burge added.
Ms Burge further added that making all forms of donation, blood, plasma and platelets is essential, but the most demand from hospitals in plasma.
“The blood donated can be separated into red cells, platelets and plasma, and one donation can save three lives. But currently, NZ Blood Services is encouraging the community to donate plasma, and they can be done through donation centres only as it requires a special machine for extraction.
“Plasma donors need to meet extra criterions such as height, weight and strong veins. Platelets last for only seven days, and we have a register for them as well and collect them accordingly from donors having high platelet count,” Ms Burge added.
Ms Burge added that NZ Blood Services is looking more for plasma donors these days as they are in more demand and they can be made into up to eleven blood products and has a wide-ranging treatment uses in particular for people with immune deficiency.
“Patients receiving plasma need it for a long time and some for a lifetime. The antibodies from plasma can give those immune-deficient patients immunity like stronger people, and some even require this transfusion every six days,” Ms Burge added.
Ms Burge encouraged the Kiwis, especially the Kiwi Indian community, to continue donating blood as it saves lives.
“Please donate blood as it saves lives. Your blood can be used for cancer patients, women giving childbirth, in elective surgeries, people with weak immunity and there is a range of treatments where your blood can be used for,” Ms Burge appealed the Kiwi Indian community.