November 13, 2018 – 9.13 hours
It is more than a year since the Venezuelan society of hematology (SVH) warned of the "serious failures of reagents and supplies" that cross the blood banks of the country since mid-2017. Far from a glimpse of a solution, hematologists warn that the crisis persists despite being reagents to the municipal bank of blood.
Between May and June of this year, the main blood bank in the country received the reagents that were so rare for the detection of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, syphilis and the human lymphotropic virus in blood donations. The allocation is sufficient to cover the next five months.
However, the SVH warns that the supplies do not contain sufficient reagents for the detection of Chagas disease, a serological test that is legally required for carrying out transfusions. The company also warns about the quality of the reagents, which in most cases are not state-of-the-art and come from China.
"We do not manage the safest blood possible", warned Raiza García, chairman of the SVH, in an interview with Efecto Cocuyo. The hematologist explained that doctors had "problems" with the quality of these reagents to detect the presence of infections in blood donations.
For example, in the case of hepatitis C, the window period (time at which the test can safely and definitively detect the infection) of the Chinese reagents is greater than 30 days; while those of the entrances used in previous years were 20 days.
Garcia said that despite the fact that the Municipal Blood Bank received a large amount of reagents, the blood banks in Caracas and the rest of the country continue to show serious defects and live a completely different reality.
Last Monday, November 5, the blood bank of the dr. Miguel Pérez Carreño hospital wakes up without serological tests. The previous Saturday, November 3, a patient who was injured in the thorax died with a knife in the middle of an operation.
"He had an injury to an important artery and he lost a lot of blood.In the hospital there was no tissue to transfuse him and he needed about six bags of blood to make up for all he had lost.We are bound hands", complained a nurse from Pérez Carreño.
The SVH warned that the blood banks of the country are not equipped to deal with accidents or situations of this type and regretted that elective operations in hospitals are paralyzed by the absence of tissue.
"The little blood there is to respond to emergency situations, the banks are not equipped with reagents and in Venezuela there is no culture of blood donation," said the president of the company.
Other supplies are missing
Garcia is not only concerned about the absence of reagents, but also about the lack of food for the treatment of blood. Something that does not escape, even the newly-endowed municipal bank.
"The municipal bank was endowed, but there is a shortage of more than 90% of the supplies needed to work with blood," he said. One is the collection bags, in which the tissue is stored.
The president of the SVH explained that the bags used to conserve blood are more than a year old and pointed out that the same specialists do not know what implications this may have for proper tissue preservation.
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"The bags must be sterile, anticoagulant, and must have physical and chemical properties so that the blood is stored correctly, we do not know how the decayed material can behave or if it can change the composition of the contents prematurely due to the deterioration of it, "he said.
The Venezuelan Society for Hematology showed the number of complaints at the beginning of 2018, when the reagent crisis worsened. Since then, he has informed the situation of national and international bodies: the Ministry of Health, the Public Prosecution Service, the Ombudsman's Office and the Pan American Health Organization.
Only the office of the public prosecutor responded to the SVH's announcement and had to say that they had to forward the complaint to the Ombudsman's office.