BELMOPAN, Thurs. Jan. 10, 2019– On January 4, Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero, announced through the media that there were blood shortages around the country. He attributed this shortage to a flood of emergencies and a decline in donors.
According to Dr. Manzanero, the Ministry of Health (MoH) always tries to ensure that they have blood products available, but with the Christmas season and the New Year, there was an added strain on the blood banks, since the few Belizeans who donate blood don’t normally do so during that time. He said the blood that the banks had in storage was needed as a result of all the traffic accidents and gun violence which occurred.
Manzanero said that some elective surgeries were put on hold so that the remaining blood could be used for emergencies.
Today, when we spoke with him, he told us that since the news of shortages broke almost a week ago, there has been no increase in donors. He said that donating blood does not seem to be within the culture of Belizeans and supplies are almost always limited.
Manzanero said MoH will try to shore up supplies with a blood drive on January 19 in Belize City. He also told us that the Northern and Western Regional Hospitals are trying to organize their own blood drives, which are actually something that is routine, but they want to encourage more donors to attend.
Apart from blood drives, donors can go to the regional hospitals and the Central Health Lab in Belize City if they would like to donate.