Ramadan rush accidents causing blood crisis in UAE
Patients left waiting for surgery as hospitals run low on blood
Patients are facing delays for vital surgery because Dubai’s hospitals are running out of blood, claims one of the UAE’s leading medical experts.
Dr Laila Al Shaer, head of the Dubai Blood Donation Centre (DBDC) told the Khaleej Times that a combination of low summer supply and the increase in accidents during the Ramadan Iftar rush was causing a “severe shortage” of blood.
“This year, both summer and Ramadan have overlapped due to which we are facing a severe shortage,” she said. “Demand is the highest at the trauma centre owing to a large number of accidents occurring during the Iftar rush.”
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She reported that the Trauma Centre at Rashid Hospital and the specialist blood treatment clinic Thalassemia Centre were especially hard hit.
“Demand is the highest at the trauma centre owing to a large number of accidents occurring during the Iftar rush,” she said. “Since emergencies are top priority, they are the first preferences during shortages followed by Thalassemia patients and then elective surgeries that can be delayed.”
Dr Al Shaer said supply from blood donations from the DBDC were able to support 50% of the UAE’s needs, but more needs to be done to cover shortages.
“There is always some backup but we cannot put the shortage into numbers,” she said Dr Laila. “People can donate after the fast is over and taking enough liquids will not affect their health. This is the month of giving and people should come up and donate blood.”
Sharjah Police said that a woman was killed in accident on Tuesday, the second fatality in the emirate since the beginning of Ramadan. A woman and two children were also injured in the accident.
“There is a decrease in the number of fatal road accidents during Ramadan this year. This is the second accident that claimed the life of a motorist since the beginning of the Holy Month,” a spokesman said.
Across the GCC, governments and police have been urging drivers to take more care during Ramadan.
The first week of Ramadan saw four people killed in traffic accidents in Kuwait. Meanwhile in Bahrain, Mousa Al Dossari, the head of traffic culture awareness said that speeding and jumping red lights were the main violations in the first week of the Holy Month.
"We recorded 21 accidents, three of which were serious, but fortunately, there were no casualties," he said.
In Oman, an awareness campaign launched by the Traffic Department of the Ministry of Interior during Ramadan has proved effective with the decline in the number of deaths due to accidents, according to Traffic Department director Brigadier Mohammed Saad Al Kharji said.
“Raising the awareness of young people and inculcating a culture of good traffic etiquette has helped reduce the number of deaths due to accidents,” he revealed.
Where can you donate blood?
- The Dubai Ministry of Health has launched a blood donation campaign at mosques in Dubai with the collaboration of the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities. People can call 04-2193221 for queries on blood donation and timings during Ramadan.
- The Dubai Health Authority blood donation centre is located in the premises of Dubai's Al Wasl Hospital and individuals interested in donating blood may contact the centre at 04 2193221 or alternately they may contact the DHA toll free number 800 342.
- In Oman you can visit the Central Blood Bank in Muscat or Regional Blood Bank in the interiors. For any information call 24591255.
- In Kuwait you can visit the Kuwait Central Blood Bank, the only blood bank in Kuwait being operated by the government. It is located in Jabriya behind Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital.
- In Qatar you can ask for the Blood Donor Unit at Hamad General Hospital, tel. nos. 4392222, 4393333
- In Bahrain you can visit the Central Blood Bank at the Blood transfusion center. Tel.No 17284454 – 17284455 (fax) 17284467