During the big dengue outbreak in March, 2013, Dr. Ruby Jih-Jin Tsai, MD and PhD (Director, Tropical Medicine Center), Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital (KMUH) in Taiwan, arrived at Honiara and attended the dengue ward at National Referral Hospital (NRH).
She was surprised at the fact there was no blood separator in Solomon Islands.
Blood separator was the machine used for separation of the platelets from the whole blood.
In Solomon Islands, the dengue cases with bleeding were transfused with whole blood.
In Taiwan, platelet concentrate could be easily accessed from Blood separators, and on the contrary it is hard to get the whole blood in Taiwan; therefore, dengue cases with bleeding are transfused with components of platelet concentrate and packed RBC instead of whole blood in order to avoid transfusion reactions and fluid overload in patients with congestive heart failure and/or kidney failure. Component transfusion is the updated concept for transfusion medicine.
In addition to dengue or other viral hemorrhage fever, there are many clinical conditions which will cause thrombocytopenia, and platelets transfusion will be required.
Therefore Dr. Ruby reflected this situation to the Taiwan government, and got the positive response. This Blood Separator machine (COBE Spectra Apheresis System – Terumo BCT) is the first machine in Solomon Islands, and will be put in the blood bank of National Referral Hospital (NRH). Associated personnel training will be followed in the future to keep it running.
It is the starting point for enhancing the facility of blood banks in Solomon Islands and rescuing the fatal bleeding episodes due to various clinical conditions.