Mmegi Online :: MoH takes blame in syphilis infected blood saga
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Last Updated
Friday 14 December 2018, 17:40 pm.
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MoH takes blame in syphilis infected blood saga

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has admitted that patients at Princess Marina in Gaborone and Molepolole’s Scottish Livingston had received syphilis infected blood.
By Sharon Mathala Wed 16 Mar 2016, 15:35 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: MoH takes blame in syphilis infected blood saga








Following the Mmegi expose, minister Dorcas Makgato called for an impromptu press conference yesterday, to reveal that an “error” in the blood samples was detected last week Thursday and the ministry has been working around the clock to rectify the situation.

She said the ministry is currently re-engineering their Information Technology system, installed in 27 hospitals and some clinics.

The system has been blamed for the error, as it is said to have failed to detect the bacteria in the blood before it could be transfused to patients.

“Somehow during the verification of the system, we detected eight units of blood that were positive for Treponema pallidum, an organism that can cause syphilis and were dispatched to two health facilities,” she said.

She further explained that they followed the audit trail of the eight units but only managed to retrieve three units of the eight, which tested positive for the bacteria that cause syphilis.

The minister said the units, had by then, been dispatched to Princess Marina and Scottish Livingstone hospital in Molepolole.

“Unfortunately five units had already been sent to the facilities and transfused, four pints at Princess Marina Hospital and one at Scottish Livingstone Hospital,” said Makgato.

Makgato said the ministry is taking full responsibility for exposing the

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infection to patients who have been given the blood that tested positive for the bacteria.

“We have tracked the clients (patients) and we are talking to them, counselling and preparing them for treatment. We will provide all possible medical assistance within our ability,” she said, adding, “We are putting up structures and mechanisms so that this does not happen again”.

Furthermore, Makgato said the ministry “will take the stance of prohylactic treatment to all the concerned patients who were issued blood and continuous monitoring as a precaution for possibility of infection”.

The minister however said there should be no red flags as scientifically the bacteria may have died before the blood was transfused to the said patients. She said that during the storage process, the bacteria, which cause syphilis, might not have survived to infect the recipient.

“The samples of the eight pints were confirmed negative for HIV 172, hepatitis B & C, but were reactive for Treponema pallidum only at the time of screening. Treponema pallidum can only survive under cold temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius for three to five days.”

“The blood units issued stayed in the cold room for minimum of eight days, which significantly lowers the chances of transmission,” she said.

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