Indonesia: Blood supply down, dengue cases up

Andi Hajramurni, Ganug Nugroho Adi and Arya Dipa, The Jakarta Post 6 Feb 16;

An increase in the number of dengue hemorrhagic fever cases in cities across the country is sucking dry blood supplies at Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) offices.

In South Sulawesi, a spokesperson for the Makassar PMI’s blood transfusion unit, Sultan, said that the unit had been receiving requests for between 100 and 150 bags of blood every day.

“Since January, demand has risen continually. Today alone, by 2 p.m. we had received requests for 28 bags for seven dengue patients,” Sultan said on Friday.

As of Friday, Sultan said, the unit had left only around 400 bags of blood, which were predicted to last for just two more days. He added that in January, the unit had supplied 66 dengue patients in need of platelet.

To help increase the supply, the unit has been calling for blood donations. “Ideally we should have enough for at least four days. So at present we need between 600 and 800 bags of blood,” he said.

The South Sulawesi Health Agency has recorded 575 cases of dengue since January, leading to 11 deaths.

The PMI in Surakarta, Central Java, has also seen its blood stocks vanish alarmingly as dengue cases increase in the city. Surakarta PMI secretary Sumartono Hadinoto said on Friday that the stock was now at the “yellow-light” level.

“Today we have 553 bags of blood. That’s relatively safe, but it’s at yellow-light level. To be completely safe we need between 1,000 and 1,500 bags,” Sumartono said.

He added that with demand for blood for dengue patients shooting up by 10 percent, his office was actively searching for more blood.

Separately, the head of the Surakarta Health Agency’s disease control section, Arif Dwi, said that dengue cases tended to increase year after year in the city. In 2015, the office recorded 462 cases, a sharp increase from 256 cases in 2014.

“This year we recorded 24 patients in January, two of whom died. This month we currently have six patients in treatment,” Arif said.

In Bandung, West Java, the city PMI’s blood transfusion unit has also seen greater demand for blood.

Bandung PMI’s blood transfusion unit director Uke Muktimanah said her office had supplied some 500 bags of blood to at least 40 hospitals and individuals in the city.

“In Bandung the demand is relatively secure but we have also been receiving blood requests from outside the region,” Uke said on Friday.

The requests, she said, mostly came from Jakarta, with requests for up to 450 bags at a time. Other regions include Majalengka, Sukabumi and Tasikmalaya, which asked for up to 300 bags of blood per shipment.

According to Uke, the increase could be detected from the office’s blood supply data. On Feb. 2, the blood stock was 1,422 bags, while by Feb. 4, just two days later, there remained only 389 bags. She expressed hope that blood donors would increase to 200 from the usual 100 given the special circumstances and pressing need.

In Central Sulawesi, the provincial health agency meanwhile reported that seven dengue patients had received treatment at Undata Hospital in Palu over the previous four days, with one patient dying.

The agency also recorded that the mosquito-borne disease had claimed a total of 11 lives since the beginning of January.

In East Kalimantan, Balikpapan Health Agency head Balerina said that in most cases of deaths related to dengue, the patients were already in critical condition by the time they were admitted to hospital.

“They were already experiencing dengue shock syndrome, which leaves them with a chance of survival of only around 10 percent,” Balerina said.

Ruslan Sangadji in Palu, Suherdjoko in Semarang, Novi Budi in Balikpapan and Djemi Amnifu in Kupang contributed to this article.

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