We cannot let other parts of the health sector fall into neglect
The coronavirus crisis has many tentacles within the health sector, and one is the shortage that is currently being faced by a number of blood transfusion centres. The shortage has been exacerbated by the month of Ramadan, as many have avoided giving blood due to fasting in this time.
For patients of all kinds -- completely unrelated to Covid-19 -- this has been a matter of great distress. Those suffering from cancer and thalassemia are suffering particularly hard due to this shortage. Thalassemia patients, for example, need regular blood transfusions in order to lead a normal life, and this is now not possible.
There is now an urgent need to organize blood donation initiatives to address this problem. We cannot let more and more people die of other diseases; Covid-19 has taken thousands of lives worldwide already, we cannot let other parts of the health sector fall into neglect as a result of it.
Since the regular avenues of blood donation are not operating normally right now -- avenues such as universities, corporate offices, or banks -- it is time to step up the initiative of the collection of blood by reaching out to different areas using the mobile bus service.
As the director of the blood program at Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has said, individuals or institutions willing to donate blood can simply contact them, and a team will go to the area for collection.
Strained for resources, it is unsurprising that this crisis is going out of control, but we must remember -- lives at risk are lives at risk, whether or not they are fighting Covid-19. And all of those lives are important.