Youth Exodus Strains Blood Donation Program in Matanzas

Thursday, June 6, 2024 by Sophia Martinez

Youth Exodus Strains Blood Donation Program in Matanzas
Blood donation (reference image) - Image © Screenshot YouTube video

The increasing wave of migration enveloping Cuba has become one of the primary reasons cited by the regime for the shortage of blood and its derivatives in the island's healthcare system. On this note, the official newspaper Girón, from the province of Matanzas, reported on Wednesday the challenges faced by the monthly blood extraction program due mainly to the lack of resources and people of appropriate age willing to donate.

The article, which quotes Dr. José Ignacio Alonso Martínez, director of the Minerva Duarte Provincial Blood Bank, indicates that the region is going through difficult times. It mentions the frequent excuse of the "imperial blockade," as well as the aging population, the rise in migration, and socio-economic difficulties.

The adverse situation is evident on social media: several Cuban families have used these platforms to save their lives or those of their relatives through voluntary donations.

This is a direct consequence of the significant drop in the number of donors, which decreased from approximately 389,000 in 1990 to 209,000 in 2019, according to the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI). In fact, the first quarter of 2024 saw the program fall short of its goals. However, Alonso acknowledged a slight increase in April (1501), which benefited Oncology services, the Maternal-Child Program, and the emergency surgical system.

Challenges and Community Efforts

During the Voluntary Donor Day (June 6-14), the doctor emphasized that the call to donate blood at any time remains, but it requires the constant push from the Communist Party, local government, mass organizations (CDR, FMC-ANAP), and unions.

Two months ago, requests for blood donations for a girl and a young accident victim were circulating on digital platforms, while activist Yoelkis Torres Tápanes turned to social media so that his mother could undergo surgery at the end of 2023 in Matanzas.

In March, another Cuban pleaded for help because his mother had been waiting for over a week: "I need a blood donation in Pilón, Granma. There are donors, but supposedly the hospital has no blood bags," explained internet user Alexis Vargas in a video he posted on Facebook.

Impact of Migration on Blood Donation in Cuba

Given the challenges faced by the blood donation program in Cuba, here are some frequently asked questions and their answers to provide more insight.

Why is there a shortage of blood donors in Cuba?

The shortage is primarily due to increased migration, an aging population, and socio-economic challenges, which have reduced the number of eligible and willing donors.

What are the consequences of the blood shortage in Cuba?

The blood shortage affects critical medical services such as Oncology, the Maternal-Child Program, and emergency surgeries, leading to urgent social media campaigns for voluntary donations.

How can the blood donation program be improved in Cuba?

The program can be improved through constant support from the Communist Party, local government, mass organizations, and unions, as well as raising awareness about the importance of blood donation.

© CubaHeadlines 2024

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