Residents of Yendi in the Northern Region have revealed that the apathy toward voluntary blood donations stem from rumours about nurses at the hospital trading blood to ritualists also known in the local parlance as ‘sakawa’.
Some residents who spoke to 3news.com said for fears of their blood being used for ritual purposes, they have decided never to donate blood to the hospital. A resident, Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim, revealed this during the open day durbar organized by the Yendi Municipal Hospital. “We have had complaints of blood being sold out to sakawa people by some nurses in the hospital and that’s why the hospital doesn’t receive voluntary blood donations again.”
Medical Superintendent of the Yendi Municipal Hospital Dr Seidu Ayuba revealed that the apathy of residents to donate blood to the hospital may hinder a successful rolling out of a programme which would make the Yendi hospital a mini blood bank, where residents in the twelve districts in the eastern corridor will be asked for donations for storage and distributed to facilities when needed.
While debunking the assertion about donors’ blood used for rituals, Dr Ayuba encouraged residents to volunteer information that could lead to a solution of what has become the greatest fear of residents. “Although the regional director and some officials have selected the Yendi Hospital to be a mini blood bank, this attitude of residents not voluntarily donating blood seem to be an issue”.
He indicated the limited staff strength of the hospital forces nurses to engage the services of patients’ relatives, who may be involved in rituals at the blind side of nurses. Once such figures are seen with blood, he further said, it is assumed the blood is sold to them for ritual purposes.
“We sitting here wouldn’t know who a sakawa is by definition, but these people live among residents and yes they know them so it triggers fear when such people are seen handling blood for their relatives and that is assumed the sales of blood to such individuals.” When asked if patients relatives are expected to handle blood, he had this to say “mind you, patients’ relatives aren’t supposed to handle blood but the limited staff situation here leaves midwives no choice to engage relatives who offer to help pick up blood and other medications for their patients”.
He has therefore reiterated the preparedness of authorities to deal with such nurses if caught in the act. The Yendi Hospital blood bank currently runs a deficit, which according to the lead clinician, affects the efficiency of the hospital as the input of a hospital is marked per the availability of blood for emergency cases. He reiterated the need to always have blood in the banks as it takes 40 minutes to one hour to bleed a donor and process blood for transfusion and lives can be lost during the period of waiting.
The flame photometer at the blood bank has broken down for months without repairs, 3news.com gathered. The facility lacks reagents for the operation of its two auto analyzer which has made the machines obsolete. The maiden open day amongst other things sought to repose the lost confidence of residents in staff of the hospital and also afford clients the opportunity to understand and appreciate services rendered to them.