The American Red Cross recently sent an emergency shipment of blood to Haiti to help alleviate the temporary blood shortage in hospitals in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Blood donors are needed to meet additional requests from the island country.
The 150 units of blood, which arrived earlier last week in Haiti, have been distributed to two hospitals in the area through the Haitian National Program of Safety of Blood Transfusion. The Red Cross has provided more than 1,818 units of blood to Haiti since the January earthquake which devastated the country said Red Cross spokesperson Andrea Kopppel in an interview with Digital Journal.
The American Red Cross had been providing blood to the UN Mission Hospital in Haiti through an existing contract prior to the earthquake disaster that struck the country in January. Currently blood is being provided to meet the existing needs that have arisen since the quake as well as the blood needed for general medical care.
Gheskio Hospital received 50 units of blood from last weeks shipment. Gheskio is the national public health lab in Delmas, Port-au-Prince. The remaining 100 units of blood were delivered to the University Hospital in Port-au-Prince. Since the earthquake, both facilities have been functioning as blood distribution centers for hospitals elsewhere in the city announced the American Red Cross.
“Since the January 12 earthquake, the American Red Cross has launched a variety of relief and recovery programs in Haiti,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president for International Services at the Red Cross. “Sending blood is just one way we are meeting the changing needs of the Haitian people.
"The American Red Cross is coordinating shipments of blood and blood products to Haiti from the United States at the request of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Ministry of Health-Haiti. Blood products are received by PAHO and PAHO distributes the blood products as directed by the Ministry of Health-Haiti to two distribution centers. The blood is distributed to the receiving hospitals per the Ministry of Health in Haiti from these two centers," said Koppel.
Among additional recipients of the newly shipped blood will be Project Medishare which is running a trauma center in the Haitian capital. “These units will be vital to helping save lives in Haiti,” said Dr. Barth Green, a co-founder of Project Medishare. “Even now, more than six months after the quake, there is a very high demand for blood. We are extremely grateful to the American Red Cross for helping us meet this need.”
The American Red Cross will continue to work with the Pan American Health Organization and the Haitian Ministry of Health to identify future needs said a Red Cross spokesman.
Is there a mechanism to give blood directly to the Haiti cause? What are the options to specifically help the people of this disaster to help meet their needs of more donated blood, we asked Koppel. She replied, "If someone gives blood, their blood donation will become part of the nation’s on-going blood supply and will help ensure that we are prepared for any blood needs that arise right here in our community or wherever blood is needed."
You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by donating blood or by making a monetary donation to support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.