Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hurghada Blood bank

Recent events in Egypt are making one thing very clear: hospitals here are under-staffed, poorly equipped, and lack some of the emergency response abilities that can make the difference between life and death. One such commodity is a blood bank.

In Cairo, the chance of dying in an Ambulance en-route to the hospital after a car wreck, or dying in the hospital itself, are almost higher than the odds of the car accident killing you to begin with. With an estimated 30,000 car accidents in Egypt every year, providing adequate emergency response mechanisms to at least allow doctors and nurses the chance to save a life is crucial. In the post-revolution Egypt these figures are not slowing down; many people will testify that they fear driving in the country more now than they ever did during the Mubarak era. That's saying something.

Residents in Hurghada have decided that enough is enough. One of the most important things for a hospital to have on hand in case of an accident is blood. A work-related injury sustained by an individual in Hurghada made it blatantly clear that crucial element was missing.

Following his injury, Mo* was forced to wait almost three days before doctors would operate on him as there was apparently no blood available. Even worse, Mo - who earns an estimated 400 LE (less than 80 US dollars) salary a month - was asked to pay 500 LE for a half litre of blood alone (this does not include the expenses of the surgery!). First aid assistance should not be something that we are in the business of charging people for, particularly when their lives hang in the balance.

Mo's story has prompted the creation of a website whereby residents of Hurghada can register, mark down their blood type (with confidentiality ensured), and should the need arise for blood of that type they will be called and asked to come to the hospital or local clinic to make the donation. An early idea yet in its introductory phases, there remain a few kinks to be worked out, but the idea itself is solid.

This way it is not only guaranteed that your blood is coming directly to you, there's less chance of confusion in administering the wrong blood type - which can have disastrous and fatal results. My main concern remains with the facilities that would be collecting the blood, as I am very picky when it comes to sterilization of equipment, but I would highly endorse this project as one way for residents to truly give back to the community.

For more information or to register, please visit BloodBank Hurghada Online.


* Name changed for privacy reasons

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