Residents of Mogadishu are incensed after hearing from medical staff that blood donations for the victims of Saturday’s devastating terror assault, which left over 100 people dead, must first pay for blood tests.
A young man who appeared to be in great distress told the local media that he was sent a bill for the blood transfusion test after giving blood to a relative who had been severely injured in the explosion.
“Transfusions of blood are necessary for many hospital patients. People urgently require blood transfusions and medical care. People are being airlifted out of the nation by the government for medical treatment in clinics abroad, yet here, volunteers are being asked to pay for blood testing.”
A blood donor must test negative for diseases that are known to be spread by transfusion before it is approved for transfusion.
Several blood samples are routinely collected after the donation is finished to check blood compatibility and blood group compatibility.
The bombings on Saturday afternoon in Somalia left more than 300 people injured and over 100 dead, and the government is requesting blood to treat them.
According to a supposedly authentic ticket from Kalkaal Hospital, a donor was charged $34 for seven blood tests, including those for HIV and syphilis.
Less than 2 kilometres separate the hospital from the explosion location.
The Kalkaal Hospital denied billing donors for blood testing in a Facebook post.
In press releases issued on Sunday afternoon, Shaafi and Somali Sudanese, two hospitals that were also charged with billing volunteers for blood testing on social media, refuted the claims.
The Somalia Ministry of Health published a statement in reaction to the increasing indignation requesting that all Mogadishu hospitals accept blood donations without fee.
The health ministry also recommended that people who are prepared to donate blood visit the hospitals in De Martino, Benadir, Madina, and Ex-Digfeer.
The president and health minister of Somalia paid hospital visits to the victims of Saturday’s twin car bomb attacks in Mogadishu just hours after the attack.
The federal government agreed to send those with the most serious injuries overseas for additional medical care.
During his press conference with the media at the hospital visit, Dr. Ali Haji Adan, the minister of health, made no comments regarding the accusations of pay-for-testing.
Despite years of conflict and carnage, the social stigma associated with blood donation in Somalia only significantly lessened after the horrific explosions in October 2017 when a large number of people flocked to hospitals to give blood for the victims.