17 November 2023
Defence personnel have broken Solomon Islands’ Red Cross record for the largest single day of blood donations.
In the lead-up to the Pacific Games the DFAT medical clinic in Honiara was packed with ADF members there to save the lives of trauma and surgery patients.
Solomons’ International Assistance Force (SIAF) Medical Officer, RAN doctor Lieutenant Commander Leigh Barlow, said the 43 units taken will be used for whole-blood transfusions at the National Referral Hospital (NRH), which regularly has shortages.
“Normally, blood banks harvest multiple products from each unit taken, but here the whole product will be transfused in life-saving interventions,” Lieutenant Commander Barlow said.
“The units can also be kept in cold storage for up to 35 days, which will enable NRH to have sufficient blood supply during the Pacific Games when the Pacific Family descends on Honiara.”
Honiara is expected to receive about 5000 visitors and 5000 athletes during the games, and NRH Medical Lab Technician Abraham Kwalha said donated blood offers a chance of survival to those who don’t have immediate family who can donate.
“Most of the time we rely on the patient's family to donate blood, but for those without family we rely on organisations such as the ADF so we can give them another chance,” Mr Kwalha said.
DFAT, AFP and SIAF clinics across Honiara support the multinational national force assisting the Government, but they also treat the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).
Lieutenant Commander Barlow said operating the clinics significantly reduces the need to use NRH and directly supports the RSIPF.
“We don’t want to impact local health care services already struggling to cope with demand,” Lieutenant Commander Barlow said.
“We want to assist them as much as we can and the multi-agency approach to health care has supported Australian operations and led to some great outcomes for Solomon Islands.”