A woman carrying her son flees her home amid Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on Friday, May 14, 2021. Photo by: Mohammed Salem / Reuters
On this World Blood Donor Day, Anera, the American Near East Refugee Aid agency, announced that it has delivered a six-month supply of urgently needed blood testing kits to the Central Blood Bank Society (CBBS), a local, non-profit organization located in Gaza.
Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, recently withstood 11 days of intense bombings, the fourth major bombardment in 12 years. The attacks caused extensive death, injury and destruction. Nine hospitals and 19 other health facilities suffered significant damage. During the attacks on Gaza, the blood bank sent an appeal to Anera, declaring that they were at zero stock of blood testing kits. Without the kits, they would not be able to ensure they were delivering blood free of HIV and hepatitis B and, said Anera in a statement.
"The blood bank is facing a financial crisis as well as a shortage of supplies," says Mostafa Al-Ghosain, Anera's medical donations program manager. "And things are much worse now because of the recent bombings. The kits are not readily available in Gaza and, if they are, the costs are quite high. That's why we bought them in the West Bank and shipped them into Gaza."
Anera transported 126 kits from the West Bank in cold-chain shipping containers. Funding for the purchase came from Americares, one of Anera's long-time medical donations partners. The kits will allow the blood bank to conduct 12,600 tests (each kit has materials for 100 blood tests), covering their needs for six months.
"This donation of blood testing kits arrived at the right time. We never get a rest at the blood bank because our work is about saving lives. In times of emergency, we work against the clock: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, day and night. On this International Blood Donor Day, we urge all those of good hearts to support us to continue our commitment to our mission from heart to heart," says Ziyad Shaath, director of the blood bank.
There is a severe and chronic shortage of essential drugs and medical supplies in Palestine as a whole. Anera brings in scores of shipments annually from medical aid donors to stock the depleted shelves at health facilities.