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Morocco: Blood drives keeping supplies steady during Ramadan

Bags of donated blood are seen at a blood-donation drive organized by the Rotary club and Uganda Blood Transfusion Services in City Square, Kampala, Uganda Saturday, Sept. 19,   -  
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Ronald Kabuubi/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved.


Blood supplies in Morocco can be at risk of running critically low during the fasting month of Ramadan, so the country has devised an effective and convenient way to encourage people to donate blood.

Blood drives are organized inside mosques, which are often packed during Ramadan, so worshippers turning up to pray can also give blood.

For over a decade now, Morocco has managed to keep blood supplies steady during Ramadan because of this nationwide initiative.

Before 2013, blood supplies took a dip during Ramadan because there weren't enough donors.

During the month of Ramadan, the faithful abstain from eating and drinking all day, and at night when they can eat, they are often too busy getting together with family and friends.

Ramadan however is also a time of increased worship and prayers, so bringing blood drives to worshippers at mosques was a practical solution.

"I was thinking of going to the blood transfusion center to give blood but it's a good thing that this unit came to us in the mosque," said Mohamed Bachir, a blood donor.

There are currently around 250 mosques taking part in the campaign led by the Moroccan National Blood Transfusion and Hematology Center.

The center first sent teams to mosques across the country to collect blood in 2013.

According to data from the national center, the number of people donating blood went from 20,000 in 2013 to 27,000 in 2023.

A peak of 29,000 was recorded in 2019, just before COVID-19 took the world by storm in 2020 and disrupted many medical services.

This year's objective is to collect a total of 26,000 blood bags, 16,000 of them in mosques.

Religious authorities are playing their part to encourage worshippers to take part in the blood donations.

"The act of giving blood is considered one of the greatest lasting charities," said Mohamed Ghilan, a preacher.

Dr. Najia el-Amraoui, the manager of the National Centre for Blood Transfusion and Hematology, said the idea is spreading.

"We managed to spread this campaign at the national level, but also on the international level," she said.

While this campaign is spearheaded by the national center for blood transfusion, other partners are also taking part.

The Mohammed VI Foundation for Religious Leaders, the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs and the Supreme Islamic Council are involved as well.

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