Introduction: With the outbreak of COVID-19 and its containment measures, blood centers faced a huge challenge in balancing blood demand and supply and devising a preparedness plan to withstand the uncertain situation. This study assesses the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on blood transfusion services and discusses the appropriate mitigation strategies adopted.
Methods: We analyzed our center's blood transfusion services during the first half-period of the pandemic (Y3) and non-pandemic years 2018(Y1) and 2019(Y2) in two-quarters Q1 (pre-lockdown), from January to March and Q2 (post-lockdown), from April to June. The blood donation variables, the packed red blood cells (PRBCs) demand and the utilization pattern were compared between pandemic (Y3) and non-pandemic years (Y1 and Y2) in each quarter. The mitigation strategy adopted at every step of the transfusion service is highlighted.
Results: During post-lockdown (Q2) of the pandemic year (Y3), the blood donation was majorly by repeat donors (83%) from the in-house site (82.5%). Furthermore, the proportion of outdoor donation, deferral, blood collection, demand and issue demonstrated a significant drop of 50%, 32.6%, 33%, 31.8% and 32.3%, respectively, in comparison to Q2 of the non-pandemic years (Y1 and Y2), with a statistically significant difference for surgical and hemorrhagic indications ( p < 0.05). Coping strategies, such as blood donor education and motivation using e-platforms emphasizing eligibility during the pandemic, staggering of donor in-flow, postponement of elective surgeries and donor and staff' COVID-19 safety assurance, were followed.
Conclusion: The timely adoption of coping strategies played a crucial role in the better handling of shortcomings at our center's blood transfusion services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy