Earlier this month, when Haiti’s automated blood testing equipment stopped working, the Haitian Red Cross called on its northern neighbors to fill the gap in its nation’s blood supply. Thanks to the generosity of blood donors in the United States, Haiti received four shipments of much-needed blood to address the shortage.
Much like in the United States, people in Haiti donate blood in order to meet their country’s needs. But when the automated testing equipment at Haiti’s National Blood Transfusion Center stopped working—and wasn’t able to be fixed right away—the country had no way to certify that blood collected was safe to use. Meanwhile, no local supplier had manual blood testing kits in stock.
The Haitian Red Cross reached out to its close partner, the American Red Cross, for help. Over the course of eight days, the American Red Cross shipped 1,000 units of blood to Haiti’s National Blood Transfusion Center, with the final shipment arriving on Friday, February 20.
Financial support from the American Red Cross is also going towards the purchase of manual blood testing kits, which have to be shipped from Italy and South Africa. Exemplifying true team spirit, the Dominican Red Cross pitched in some manual blood testing kits to be used while awaiting the shipment. All of these efforts were, of course, done in close collaboration with Haiti’s Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance, who facilitated the clearance at customs.
This isn’t the first time the American Red Cross sent much-needed blood supplies to Haiti. In the wake of the 2010 earthquake, the American Red Cross coordinated the delivery of 5,305 units of blood to the Haitian Ministry of Health.
Since the 2010 earthquake, the American Red Cross has been helping communities and families to build back healthier. This includes making significant investments to prevent and treat diseases such as cholera, malaria and measles; supporting the operation of hospitals, mobile clinics and treatment centers; and funding the construction of several medical facilities that are or will be caring for thousands of people, such as Mirebalais University Hospital and Saint Michel Hospital in Jacmel.