“Donate blood and save a life.” This is the slogan you see upon entering the Blood Bank in Gaza.
As a nongovernmental charitable organization, it donates blood units to the poor and sick, preventing serious health complications and saving their lives.
The organization was established in 1971 mainly to encourage blood donations. It has three branches: the main one is in Gaza City and the other two are in Khan-Younis and Rafah. Due to the shortage of blood supplies and to prevent any malpractice during blood donations and transfusions, the Blood Bank has taken on the responsibility of collecting and storing donated blood.
“The organization basically depends on donations. We provide hospitals with blood units, all of which meet World Health Organization standards,” said Dr. Abu-Asi, director of the Society.
“In times of emergency in Gaza, we are the hospitals’ only source of blood. During the recent war, we reached out to many marginalized areas and provided 3,000 blood units in three weeks which equals six months of donations during ordinary times,” explained the doctor.
In May 2009, ANERA delivered a shipment of nearly 1,100 blood bags, donated by AmeriCares, to the Blood Bank.
“These new blood bags are ideal. They preserve the blood and eliminate any possibility of contamination,” said Abu-Asi. “Before receiving this donation, we had no choice but to use bags with a very short expiry date. Having a good inventory of bags with a longer expiry date is huge relief.”