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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
12 April 2006

IRAQ: Amid violence, health workers appeal for blood donations

BAGHDAD, 12 Apr 2006 (IRIN) - The National Blood Transfusion Centre (NBTC) in the capital, Baghdad, is making urgent appeals for blood donations due to a shortage caused by the worsening security situation and rising sectarian violence.

“We need reagents, gloves, syringes and – above all – we need blood donors to help their Iraqi brothers who are suffering due to the lack of blood for transfusions,” said NBTC Director Dr Hayder al-Shammari. “We can’t meet the demand, and this could cause very serious problems in the coming days.” He added that the NBTC’s blood banks, used now only in emergency cases, were almost depleted.

Ahmed Odey, a haematologist at the centre, said that about 15 percent of all blood donated locally was rejected due to the presence of infections and other defects. “We practically haven’t found any cases of HIV, but hepatitis commonly comes up in laboratory tests,” said Odey.

According to al-Shammari, the demand for blood has tripled since last December and has escalated further within the last couple weeks of rising violence. “We were supplying Baghdad with about 300 blood bags per day last year,” said al-Shammari. “These days, though, this number can climb as high as 1,000 bags a day.”

Odey urged his compatriots to come to the NBTC to make donations. “Iraqis should know that we need much more blood due to the increase in violence,” he said, highlighting the centre’s “very efficient equipment and competent staff”.

The NBTC accepts blood, of any type, from all healthy Iraqis between the ages of 18 and 65.



This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2006

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