DOH, Red Cross call for blood donations amid COVID-19 crisis

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
DOH, Red Cross call for blood donations amid COVID-19 crisis
A Baguio Country Club employee takes part in a bloodletting activity led by the Philippine Red Cross’ Baguio City chapter on April 16.
The STAR / Andy Zapata

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health and the Philippine Red Cross called on the public to donate blood as the country’s blood supply is at risk of running out during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of World Blood Donor Day on June 14, the DOH stressed that the need for blood has not abated amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“Everybody has to recognize the fact that even when there is a COVID-19 pandemic, di naman tumigil ang ibang sakit para mangyari sa ibang kababayan natin at hindi tumigil ang pangangailangan ng dugo,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing Wednesday.

(Everybody has to recognize the fact that even when there is a COVID-19 pandemic, people still getting sick of other diseases and the need for blood has not stopped.)

In a statement, Sen. Richard Gordon, who is also PRC chairman, said the shortage of blood supply could endanger the lives of patients, including accident victims.

“We need your help. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in our country, there are persons in hospitals now who are badly in need of blood transfusions like cancer patients, accident victims, people with blood disorders, mothers who are giving birth, and so many others, and with a limited supply of blood nationwide, we are in danger of running out,” Gordon said.

“We don’t want to get to the point where surgeries have to get canceled or other similar dire incidents that could arise. That’s why we are asking everyone to come out and volunteer to donate blood and save lives,” he added.

In an interim guidance released in March, the World Health Organization acknowledged that containment measures may limit the ability of donors to attend donation sessions and prevent blood collection teams from visiting places associated with infection clusters or where restrictions on movement are enforced.

“Strategies to overcome this may include rapid switching of sites for blood collections where feasible, providing donor transportation, intensifying efforts to schedule appointments for donations, or adjusting operating hours. Blood collection activities may need to be organized on a more targeted basis through recall of healthy repeat donors,” the United Nations health agency said.

Those who wish to donate may call PRC’s 143 hotline or (+632) 8790-2300. Volunteers will be screened first to check if they are qualified. People with recent travel history abroad are not allowed to give blood until 14 days after their arrival.

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