Issue of August 4, 2019
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Red Cross urges LGUs to conduct bloodletting
by Rithan Haize Dullona

LIFE SAVERS -- Volunteers lined up to donate blood during the observance of the National Blood Donors Month of the Philippine Red Cross-Benguet at the Benguet General Hospital gymnasium on July 31. The PRC has urged the community to regularly donate blood, as it helps in stimulating blood cell production and helps save lives, among other benefits. -- Ofelia Empian

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – To boost its blood supply in storage, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC)-Benguet called on the municipal governments to regularly conduct bloodletting activities and urged the public to donate blood.

“We are just blessed that there is available blood. It would be frightening if there’s no supply and that is what we want to address. That's why we signed a memorandum of agreement,” PRC-Benguet Chapter Administrator Oscar Paris said during the MOA signing with the provincial and 13 municipal government units, private hospitals, and academic institutions in the province.

Paris said blood is regularly needed by patients undergoing dialysis aside from cancer patients, victims of accidents or emergencies, and those suffering from advanced stage of dengue.

“On average, we need 400 donors per month. We need 100 donors in a week, partners (to help provide the needed supply), and at least two to three agencies (that will conduct blood donation activities) per week,” Paris said.

Paris said to meet the demand for blood, the PRC hopes to do regular blood donation and get the needed resource to save lives.

“The MOA holds conditions and agreement between PRC-Benguet and its partners for their mutual coordination in conducting mobile blood donations at scheduled dates and places,” he said.

The MOA also provides for the responsibility of each partner in promoting and disseminating information to generate support and participation among its members and the public in general.

Paris said in cases where Benguet Red Cross does not have the needed blood, patients are referred to the other Red Cross chapters like in Baguio and the adjacent provinces of La Union and Pangasinan.

He said the supply is enough in June and July when the country observes the Blood Donors Month, making the number of blood donors high and consistent.

November to January are lean months as few come for blood donation because of parties, breaks, and vacation.

Dengue and other renal disease patients go to the Red Cross for whole blood, fresh whole blood, and platelet concentrate.

Paris said platelets are produced by extracting the component from whole blood.

He said PRC-Benguet has recently acquired a machine used in extracting platelet concentrate, allowing them to supply the specialized supply aside from whole blood.

Dr. Jocelyn Legaspi, rural health physician of the Provincial Health Office, said the goal is to at least get one percent of the population to donate blood.

Benguet currently has 446,224 and they hope to get 4,462 people to give a little of their blood at least every three months.

“So far we have 0.5 percent. We hope that at least one percent of the entire population (would donate),” Paris said.

Among the province’s 13 municipalities, only Bokod and Kapangan have been able to consistently get one percent of the population to donate blood.

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