Deputy Minister of Health Đỗ Xuân Tuyên (standing second right) visits donors at a blood donation event at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health in Hà Nội on Thursday. — VNS Photo Thanh Hải
HÀ NỘI — The health sector has called on medical staff and the community to donate blood at the Lễ hội Xuân hồng (Red Spring) blood donation festival at the headquarter of the Ministry of Health in Hà Nội on Thursday.
Jointly organised by the health sector’s Trade Union and the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT), the event aims to encourage health staff and the community to participate in voluntary blood donation and to ease the blood shortage during and after the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday period.
Donating blood at the event, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn said that blood donation does not affect health or weaken people’s immune system. “With the process of ensuring blood transfusion safety, donors will not transmit SARS-CoV-2 but can also help needy patients and protect public health,” said Sơn.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn donates blood at a blood donation event at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health in Hà Nội on Thursday. — VNS Photo Thanh Hải
Sơn said that at the moment, documents related to disease outbreaks such as SARS, MERS or COVID-19 have not provided evidence that these respiratory viruses can be transmitted via blood transfusion. Therefore, besides complying with anti-epidemic requirements, the health sector calls on agencies, organisations and the community to continue to join in voluntary blood donation activities.
Sơn said that along with the prevention of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health asked hospitals to make plans on the use blood and blood products in a reasonable way to avoid blood shortages that may occur.
In the context of the Covid-19 outbreak in Hà Nội, the amount of blood collected has decreased sharply to around 60 units daily, 20 times lower than last month’s average of 1,200 units per day, according to the health ministry.
Director of NIHBT, Dr. Bạch Quốc Khánh, said that hospitals may face blood shortages due to falling numbers of blood donors and blood donation events as a result of the continuing development of the pandemic caused by the new strain of coronavirus in Việt Nam and the world.
Khánh said that 70 blood donation events that were expected to collect 12,000 blood units were delayed since the outbreak of Covid-19.
Health staffs donate blood at a blood donation event at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health in Hà Nội on Thursday. — VNS Photo Thanh Hải
“In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NIHBT will ensure the blood collection and supply with three criteria, including safety for blood donors, safety for patients and safety for medical staff,” said Khánh.
“Donors will be given a mask and hand sanitiser before registering to donate blood,” added Khánh.
The health sector said that blood collection currently has met 70 per cent of blood demand for emergency aid and treatment at hospitals across the country. The World Health Organisation estimated that Việt Nam needs around 1.92 million blood units each year, equivalent to 2 per cent of the population to regularly donate blood.
Blood collection has increased to 1.6 million units in 2019, compared to more than 100,000 units in 1994. Blood volume is mainly donated from volunteers, reaching 98 per cent of total collection, according to the health ministry. — VNS