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Doctors encourage unpaid, voluntary blood donations for National Blood Donors Week 2022

Several medical practitioners on Wednesday called on healthy individuals to make unpaid and voluntary blood donations in observance of the National Blood Donors Week 2022.

In a Kapihan forum organized by the Department of Health (DOH), Dr. Graham Harrison of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health Systems Team stressed that the need for blood is universal, but not everyone has access to safe blood and blood products.

“Blood donation is an act of solidarity. It’s about supporting others in the community. It is an act of altruism where you’re doing something to benefit others but not expecting anything personal in return,” he said.

DOH National Voluntary Blood Services Program Manager Marites Estrella said a potential volunteer blood donor should be a healthy individual aged 18 to 65; have a pulse rate of between 60 to 100 beats per minute; be at least 50 kilograms; have blood pressure between 90 to 160 (systolic) and 60 to 100 (diastolic); and a hemoglobin level of at least 125 g/L.

In a separate briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that donating blood has benefits such as lowering the risk of heart attack, reducing chances of cancer, and a better mental state.

“Sa pag spare ninyo ng at least 15 minutes of your time, at least three lives ang maaari ninyong maligtas,” she said. 

(By sparing at least 15 minutes of your time, you can save at least three lives.)

Philippine Blood Center (PBC) head Dr. Dennis Ordoña said that the PBC is open everyday to receive blood donations.

He added that over recent days, the PBC has recorded more than 600 blood donors, meaning they currently have plenty of blood supply at the moment.

“Sa ngayon, maraming marami tayong dugo (right now, we have many blood supply). But of course, the demand for the blood does not decrease. It’s not an indication for us to stop. That’s actually an indication for us to continue and promote voluntary blood donation,” Ordoña said.

Harrison said that interested blood donors will undergo screening to ensure that they do not have infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

People with comorbidities like diabetes are also allowed to donate blood as long as their conditions are controlled, Ordoña said. 

The World Blood Donor Day is celebrated annually every June 14, “to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood,” according to the WHO. —with Joahna Lei Casilao/KG/VBL, GMA News