The Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS) says it failed to collect the required amount of blood from July-September due to the closure of schools resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Students are Malawi's main blood donors.
The body had planned to gather 19,000 units of blood but only managed 14,000 units, a situation that is risking lives that may be in need of blood.
PR assistant for MBTS, Christina Kilowe in an interview with Kulinji.com appealed to the public to intervene for people’s survival.
“Particularly the main challenging factor was COVID-19 that led to closure of schools which is our main source of blood,” Kilowe stressed.
She has optimistic that the re-opening of schools would help them collect more blood from students and be able to save lives where possible.
Apart from closure of schools, MBTS says working from home and shift assignments among its staff also led to the shortfall as human resource was inadequate.
“In order to control congestion as one way of preventing the spread of the coronavirus, we have been working in shifts. We had no choice but to accept the results of the blood collection outcome,” she added.
Meanwhile, MBTS plans to roll out a number of initiatives that will encourage people to donate blood.
November 23-December 5, for instance has since been earmarked as ‘Blood Donation Week’.
“For example here in the Southern region, the blood donation week is to be rolled out in Blantyre, Thyolo and Zomba but I should confess that we cannot take our awareness campaign into all the districts,” she added.
According to MBTS, demand for blood goes high during the rainy and festive season due to an increase in road accidents and rising malaria cases.