September 18th, 2015 by ANERA
The Gaza Blood Bank Society (GBBS) plays a key role during good times and during crises like last year’s war. But war and years of border closures have strained the society’s ability to respond to Gaza’s health needs. “Extra pressure was put on the blood bank, particularly during emergencies. And we were already in desperate need of a better facilities to meet our ever-growing demands,” explains Dr. Ziyad Shaat, director of the blood bank.
Gaza’s main hospitals were in dire need for blood donations during last year’s war. They issued a call for urgent donations of all blood types. “It wasn’t safe to line up outside the central blood bank so we shipped supplies to branches in Rafah and Khan Younis and also to hospitals that needed blood for transfusions,” he said.
As one of the founders, Dr. Ziyad recalled the early days of GBBS. “It was founded in 1979 by good-hearted people who wanted to end the suffering of those who needed a blood donation but had to purchase it at a high price. And, the blood was taken from unknown or untested donors,” he added.
GBBS has received financial donations from a variety of funders. “Blessings of good deeds and good intentions have prevailed,” he said.
A Reliable Power Source Keeps the Gaza Blood Bank Going
Dr. Ziyad says ANERA has been a life-saver, helping the blood bank with the society’s infrastructure by expanding its facilities into a new building that had not been operational for several months. “With all the financial burdens, we could only pay our employees a small stipend that we called a gift because it didn’t even qualify as a salary,” he added.
ANERA provides vital equipment to Gaza’s health facilities. At this year’s Annual Dinner, we’ll be raising funds for health programs. Join us!
Dr. Ziyad explained that selecting the right cold storage equipment, for example, is critical for the blood bank. So is keeping the refrigeration equipment functioning. “The power cuts make it is impossible to keep the blood in good conditions. It is so precious and we don’t want to lose our supply.”
ANERA provided GBBS with a new 66KVA generator, a reliable power source to sustain its operations. “Everyone felt so lucky,” he said. “It improves our productivity and it’s a huge relief for blood donors, patients and staff.”
Nurse Naheda explained that blood is kept in good condition in the new refrigerated containers that ANERA has supplied to transport blood to Gaza’s blood banks and hospitals. “There is no time to waste when there’s an accident or surgery or other emergency. We operate 24 hours and we must have the blood ready for donations,” she added. ANERA also has supplied the Gaza Blood Bank with furniture, storage units, computers and printers.
Dr. Ziyad sighed with relief, “ANERA saved us from the brink of collapse. This assistance is unprecedented and is the catalyst behind our energy. When you save a unit of blood you save a life.”