Background and Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic created a global health crisis with a multisector disruption, particularly in blood transfusion services where restrictive measures unsettled the blood supply. In this context, we have reported our experience during this crisis by evaluating the transfusion activity before and during the pandemic as well as the measures undertaken. Methods: This was a retrospective descriptive study conducted at the blood bank of a tertiary healthcare hospital from Sousse, Tunisia, during the years 2019 and 2020. The analysis focused on the monthly comparison of data of the blood bank including the number of donations recorded and the number of labile blood products produced and distributed during the 2 years of the study. Results: The total number of annual donations in 2020 decreased by 14% compared to 2019. The number of monthly donations decreased significantly, especially during the two epidemic peaks in Tunisia (in April and October 2020). The production of packed red blood cells has decreased by 17% (up to 53% reduction during the first wave). The production as well as the distribution of fresh frozen plasma and platelet concentrates decreased significantly with an annual reduction of 12.3% and 25%, respectively, with a stable rate for the apheresis platelet concentrates. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a universal threat on all levels and, in particular, on the safety of transfusion practice. The development of an appropriate management plan would be necessary to surpass this crisis.
Salma Riahi, Lamia Ifa, Sihem Boukadida
Global Journal of Transfusion Medicine