IRC Infuses New Life into Iraq Blood Bank
The IRC and local partner Todya recently refurbished and expanded Wassit’s regional blood bank, previously too small to store enough blood to meet demand. The bank had space for just three beds, which meant only three donors at a time could give blood.
The blood bank’s staff had been struggling to assist roughly 1,750 people each month—many of them patients requiring donated blood for surgery, emergency care or transfusions for ailments such as anemia. The overwhelming demand left many patients’ families no option but a harrowing journey to a distant blood bank in the country’s capital.
“Relatives of those who needed blood faced daunting challenges trying to transport blood themselves,” says Aidan Goldsmith, the IRC’s program director in Iraq. “Often the blood spoiled due to the lack of proper transportation and excessive heat.”
With the IRC’s help, the Wassit blood bank has been outfitted with a new laboratory and new storage units. Construction freed space for a larger donation center, a distribution hall and administrative offices, and it reduced the threat of contamination posed by cramped quarters. (The bathroom and waiting room had been on the same floor as the blood storage facilities.)
The IRC also ensured that the staff of the blood bank received training in best practices in nursing and blood handling and storage so that they can meet emergency needs in Wassit and four neighboring provinces.
“Now that the improvements are complete,” Goldsmith says, “people will have access to services that are crucial to their very survival and well-being.”To Help
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