Rey Anthony Chiu
CORTES, Bohol, January 11, 2013 (PIA) – Bohol’s voluntary blood donation program is anemic.
Collecting only 1,570 blood units of the 13,000 bags which is supposedly the standard collection goal for Bohol, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) authorities now urge local government units to help in convincing healthy individuals to help “transfuse” blood stocks a clearly depleted local blood bank.
In fact, PRC Bohol administrator Nenita Briones fears that a disaster might hit Bohol and bloods units may not immediately be available.
The target is to generate a stock of at least 1% of the total population, explains Briones, during the recent Kapihan sa PIA aired over DyTR.
With close to 1.3 million population, Bohol should have an average annual stock of nearly 13,000 units, added PRC medical technologist Jacinto Quimson.
Quimson said, of the 1,570 units collected in 2012, 139 donors were also deferred for not meeting set requirements in blood donation or had compatibility problems.
The gravity of the current backlog in stocking blood units at the Red Cross blood bank can also be seen in the way “commercial” blood donors proliferate at the gates or even at the halls of hospitals, shared a source who asked not to be named.
Patients’ needing immediate blood transfusion are now forced to go for donors who demand as much as P500 for patients in public hospitals to as high as P2,000 for a blood unit for patients in private medical institutions.
The donated blood still needs to be screened through, where a basic screening costs another P1,500 owing to re-agents, equipment and services, adds PRC medical technologist Jacinto Quimson.
At the recent radio forum on air, Administrator Briones admits that the only way the commercial blood donors could be stopped is by the establishment of a donor recruitment program, blood collection program, upgrade local storage capacity and other blood component service provision.
While blood is free, it is the blood screening which costs, one too which makes it less affordable to indigents, Briones said.
The ultimate dream, she reveals is for the Red Cross to provide blood assistance to both the rich and the less fortunate, but much of this rests in getting ample supply of blood at the local banks.
She also said that Red Cross ideally does not require replacement of withdrawn units, but admits that owing to the need, they have to make a move to sustain the state of local stocks.
To buffer such, Briones urges local government units (LGUs) to help in generating voluntary blood donors to perk up the local inventory.
She also noted that despite legal mandates, several LGUs do not prioritize sustaining the national or local blood requirement, despite the fact that indigents almost always come to the Red Cross for help.
If only LGUs can help generate the required blood stocks, patients can save by spending only P1,500 for the screening fees.
The Blood Program of the Philippines operates in accordance with the provisions of the National Blood Services Act of 1994 or Republic Act (R.A.) 7719, she explained. (30/sjp)