Health authorities have raised an alarm after donations of blood type O recently decreased, a situation they say could lead to a “crisis” in the coming days. The Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) collects 300 sachets of blood daily and hospitals use over 900 units every day. According to the RBC, currently there are enough quantities of blood for types A, B and AB in their blood banks, but stocks of type O are shrinking. “Usually, blood donation is voluntary, but it happens sometimes that donations of one type are not proportional to the other types, which leads to shortages like the one we’re facing currently,” Dr. Thomas Muyombo, head of the National Centre for Blood Transfusion at the RBC, told The New Times on Saturday, August 13. “So, we are calling for more donations from people with blood type O in order to prevent acute shortages, which could lead to the level of a crisis.” As type O negative is compatible with all blood types, and O positive compatible with all positive blood types, Dr Muyombo said shortages are not rare. “Because O– is the universal donor and is often used in cases of emergency transfusions, there’s always the likelihood of shortages,” he said. Who can donate blood? First, the person should be willing to donate. As Muyobo explains, donations of blood cannot be accepted if the person is sick, is on medication or had an operation recently. People who recently had blood transfusions cannot donate. Pregnant women, those in period or are breastfeeding kids aged under one year are not allowed to donate. People with incurable illnesses like heart and kidney diseases, asthma, and those with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis or gonorrhoea are not allowed to donate blood. For people who have sex, them even if protected, with those with STDs, they have to wait for one year to be able to donate.