Always in the foreground. At the front. As the coronavirus pandemic continues unabated in the country, hospital staff are called upon to donate blood. To address a serious shortage, the association of female doctors in Senegal, but also the various hospital teams were contacted, says Professor Marie Edouard Faye, gynecologist at the gynecological and obstetric clinic at Aristide Le Dentec hospital, in the center -City of Dakar.
If the medical profession is called upon, the families of the sick are asked too. In vain, sometimes, as the obstetrician gynecologist Abdoul Aziz Diouf, a practitioner at the Pikine hospital center, in the Dakar suburbs regrets. “With the transport difficulties and the risk of contamination, it remains difficult for families to go to Dakar where the National Center for Blood Transfusion is located [CNTS] “, regrets the doctor who then recommends decentralizing collection.
For him, as for many practitioners, it is urgent. According to a study carried out by his team between 2017 and 2019, 58% of maternal mortality in his department is linked to a hemorrhage which could not be countered by a blood transfusion. “It is a shame when you know that behind each patient there is a whole family mobilized. Donations from family and friends would not only save patients but also have stocks ”adds Dr. Diouf who, at the end of May, lost a patient due to lack of blood.
60% drop in mobile collections
In Senegal, the hour is serious. “We have recorded a 26% drop in donations since the start of the year, especially between February and April”, deplores the director of the CNTS, Saliou Diop. Since the appearance of the first cases of Covid 19 in March, fear has spread to the Senegalese population, which has partly self-confined.
And the restriction of transportation added to the closure of schools that have many donors among their students have had a severe impact on stocks. Especially since the ban on rallies decreed on March 13 has also led to a 60% drop in mobile blood drives organized by the National Center for Blood Transfusion.
Today, the emergency is becoming vital in hospital structures. “Morbidity increased during this crisis in which we lost a cancer patient in need of a blood transfusion”, laments Marie Edouard Faye, gynecologist at the gynecological and obstetric clinic of Aristide Le Dentec hospital, in the center of Dakar.
Collections at half mast during Ramadan
If, in nephrology, no death is to be deplored, several hemodialysis were reprogrammed. According to Professor Fary Ka, head of this service, “Almost eight out of ten requests for blood transfusions were not met” these last weeks. Patients also saw their costs increase, as the length of hospital stay often had to be extended as a result.
At the Fann University Hospital in Dakar, the situation is not better and some twenty surgeries even had to be postponed in neurology. “We postponed the operations that could be postponed, when the aneurysm or the brain tumor was stabilized for example, says neurosurgeon Cheikh Ndiaye Sy. Without visibility on the stocks, we proceed day by day because our blood bags were reduced by two thirds during this quarter. “
In fact, in 2019, when some 160,000 pockets are required, only 100,000 donations were collected. “By the standards of the World Health Organization, you need ten donations per thousand people. However, we only have 6.5 in Senegal against 32 per thousand in France for example “, analyzes the director of the CNTS who puts everything into perspective since the African average is 4.3 per thousand inhabitants.
And if the year 2020 started in slow motion, an upturn has been looming since the end of Ramadan traditionally marked by collections at half mast. Without doubt the fruit of the deconfinement started and the CNTS active awareness campaign on social networks.