(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The Ministry of Heath has decided to increase the fee for blood units provided to private sector hospitals from JD15 to JD40 per unit, sector representatives said on Wednesday.
Karim Yarfas, head of the ministry's blood directorate, said the ministry spends JD100 on screening each blood unit for diseases, so the rise in the fees does not even cover the cost.
He also noted that the number of blood units requested by private hospitals each day has recently increased from 250 to between 300 and 400.
Although Yarfas refused to comment on the reasons for the rise in blood unit orders, representatives of private sector hospitals said the increase was due to the large number of Libyan patients receiving treatment in the country's hospitals, which has reached 24,000.
Awni Bashir, president of the Private Hospitals Association, told The Jordan Times that private hospitals have begun launching blood drives in cooperation with the blood directorate in order to help meet the rise in demand.
Two private hospitals have already organised blood drives, he said, while others are expected to follow soon.
Nael Odwan, president of the Jordan Hospitals Association, confirmed that there is high demand for blood units in the Kingdom's hospitals, many of which are filled to capacity due to the recent influx of Libyan patients.
However, both Bashir and Odwan said the ministry's decision to increase fees imposed on blood units was "legitimate".
"We know that this fee does not cover the actual cost," Odwan told The Jordan Times yesterday.
Currently, there are 48 blood banks in Jordan, 29 of which are affiliated with the health ministry, while others are affiliated with the Royal Medical Services, the University of Jordan Hospital, the King Abdullah I Hospital and the Jordan Red Crescent.
The World Health Organisation recommends that, at minimum, all donated blood to be used for transfusion should be screened for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis.
Female donors should be in the 18-55 age bracket, while male donors should be in the 18-65 age bracket, according to Yarfas, who added that female voluntary and replacement donors currently constitute only 2 per cent of the total number of donors in Jordan.