Bone marrow donations drop due to Covid-19

CAPE TOWN- Bone marrow registries around the world have reported a decline in registrations and donations since the Covid-19 outbreak– putting thousands of lives at risk.

Medical Director of the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) Dr Charlotte Ingram, says they too have seen a drop in local donor registrations and in light of the pandemic, the SABMR will be recruiting all donors online. 

Due to the national lockdown physical events that drive blood stem cell donor registrations having to be cancelled and the extended lockdown orders prompt the public to stay indoors.

“These measures are obviously crucial in slowing the spread of the virus, but it has put a strain on the critical services that registries provide. Aside from a lag in donor recruitment, Covid-19 has also made it difficult to transport blood stem cells to patients in need,” said Ingram. 

Patients with blood disorders, such as leukemia and thalassemia around the world are still in urgent need of blood stem cell transplants. As it is, the chance of finding a successful match is approximately one in 100 000.

In an effort to increase donor registrations, the SABMR have launched a massive online campaign with the aim of achieving 10 000 new volunteer donors before World Marrow Donor Day on 19 September. 

“Since ethnicity plays a role in a successful blood stem cell transplant, it is important for each of us to register as a blood stem cell donor. While Covid-19 has dominated our lives, people with blood disorders still need our help. We want this miracle to be available for each patient. Some of the most selfless and unheralded people are those who sign up to become donors and we want to thank them for their generosity,” said Ingram. 

If you are between the ages of 18 and 45 and would like to find out more you can visit the SABMR website here or call 021 447 8638. 

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