Ramadan Plays Havoc with Bood Donations

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 1 (UPI) — The holy month of Ramadan plays havoc with blood donations in Abu Dhabi, a consultant pathologist at the blood collection and distribution center said.

“Donors are off on holiday, and it is often difficult to maintain our minimum supply of 600 units,” Dr. Maria Araneta told Gulf News Web site.

Just one blood bank in Abu Dhabi supplies both the capital city and the Emirate’s Western Region’s daily need for 150 units of blood, Araneta said.

“A liver transplant with a recipient and live donor requires almost 100 units, because each patient requires more than 50 units. So on those days we try to plan ahead and have enough blood available,” she said.

While the supply of blood maybe limited over the summer months, Araneta said she was not aware of it causing delays in surgery.

“I am not aware of a surgery being held up because of the lack of available blood, but we do have to run more campaigns on a daily basis to maintain the required levels,” she said.

She said the bank’s stock of blood requires constant replenishment as units in storage expire after 42 days. Currently, the bank has to collect and distribute, on average, 2000 units of blood a month.

“We have to keep all the assorted blood groups available based on their distribution in the population. O-negative and AB-negative are the hardest to stock however because these blood types are the most uncommon,” Araneta said.

Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam and requires observers to fast from dawn to dusk. The holiday is based on the lunar calendar and is due to start mid-August and end in September.

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