A Yemeni medic uses a computer to insert information after collecting blood samples at a blood transfusion centre in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on August 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) is trying to help Yemen’s national blood bank by sending supplies after Doctors Without Borders (MSF) ended its two years of support. Still, the blood bank may be forced to close.
A Yemeni nurse gives medical treatment to a man donating blood at a transfusion centre in the capital Sanaa, on August 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Patients suffering diseases including thalassaemia, cancer and kidney failures, as well as victims of a two-year civil war in which more than 10,000 people have been killed, would be affected if the bank closed, officials said.
“If the center stops, a catastrophe will hit the whole country,” said Munir al-Zubaidi, a spokesman for the bank said.
The blood bank is already short on supplies, including blood bags, and is making an appeal to anyone who is interested in charity to help keep the blood bank funded and open.
An MSF spokeswoman said the charity had handed over its support for the blood bank to the WHO.
“WHO is looking into ways to support the National Blood Transfusion Centre,” said Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO spokesman. “Supplies were ordered but have not reached Yemen as of now,” he added without elaborating.
Video from Press TV discussing the importance and possible closure of the blood center. Below this is some information on the disease, thalassaemia, mentioned in both the article and video.
Adnan Al-Hakimi, technical manager: “This is a direct outcome of the Saudi blockade. The non-profit center was supported by Doctors Without Borders, which stopped its activities in Yemen due to Saudi war and blockade.”
Doctor Mohamed Al-Asali: “The national center is the only blood center that works under separation of blood under its different constituents. This process helps patients with thalassaemia and other inherited blood diseases to survive as they need blood without its cells. In case the center closes down, people with these diseases are going to die, let alone those who need blood donations and tests due to the Saudi war and spiraling epidemics.” ((My note: I am no medical expert, but I am using my native English speaking knowledge and Google abilities to guess that by separating blood into different constituents, it should have been translated as blood components.))
This information is from the Thassalaemia International Foundation website. You can also read the following information in other languages, including Arabic. It’s pretty lengthy, but here are some important bits. It sounds like there is no cure and the only treatment currently is blood transfusion.