A group of young volunteers in central Somalia’s Goldogob have set up a system linking blood donors with the local hospital, in order to save patients in urgent need of blood.
The volunteers have facilitated the registration of local blood donors and their blood types at Goldogob General Hospital. They also arrange to transport donors to the hospital in emergencies.
Ibrahim Hassan Osman, a 26-year-old mathematics teacher, is the leader of the youth group behind the initiative. He told Radio Ergo that they have registered 500 young men ready to give blood whenever needed.
“The idea came to us back in April last year, when a 22-year-old sports mate of ours was shot and wounded. He was taken to the hospital but he bled profusely on the way so he needed a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, he died while the hospital was looking for a blood donor. That was the day we decided to do something,” said Ibrahim.
Dr Mohamed Abdullahi, the hospital director, told Radio Ergo the hospital does not have a blood bank. The registry of blood donors has helped them to overcome the huge challenges they have been facing finding blood for patients.
“Now we have a registry of blood donors with all eight different blood types,” he said. “Whenever the need arises, all we need to do is call the donors with the matching blood types.”
Around 100 donors have come to the hospital to donate blood for patients in critical conditions. The last such case was on Sunday 5 January, when a woman urgently needed blood type B-.
“We contacted three people in the registry and as they were giving their blood for another mother in a more critical condition needing the same blood type the donors were able to easily assist her as well. We would have had a hard time finding blood for her if we didn’t have the registration system in place,” said Dr Mohamed.
The youth group and the hospital keep copies of the list of donors and their blood types and coordinate to find suitable donors and organize the logistics of bringing them to the hospital when the need arises.
Irado Mohamud Warsame, 54, is the mother of the young man whose death prompted the youth group to create the blood donor registration system. Irado’s daughter was admitted to the hospital last November in need of a cesarean section after three days of labour. The hospital was able to act without delay, thanks to the new system.
“Her blood type was B+ and she needed 2000cc of blood. The hospital brought in four matching donors who gave blood for her, thank God,” said Irado.
Dr Mohamed credits the volunteers for raising community awareness and coming up with a practical solution to the perennial problem of accessing supplies of blood. They receive blood from an average of 17 donors a month.