Institute faces severe shortage of blood type O, A

April, 09/2020 - 15:54
An urgent announcement has been released by the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT), calling for blood donations for group O and A.
Police take part in a blood donation programme in the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — An urgent announcement has been released by the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT), calling for blood donations for group O and A.

The NIHBT on Monday said that it had nearly 8,000 units of blood, and faces a severe shortage of blood group O and A.

The above amount of blood would run out in about a week.

The NIHBT also said that it would temporarily stop receiving blood group B and AB.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left people hesitant to donate blood for the past two months. The NIHBT received only 16,000 units of blood in March, a sharp reduction compared with the amount of 32,000-36,000 units of blood which it had received in previous years.

Although the number of patients having treatment at the institute had fallen, thus demand also reduced, each day the NIHBT still needs about 700 units of blood to supply hospitals in 25 different provinces and cities.

Blood group O and A is in highest demand. However, of nearly 8,000 units of blood in the NIHBT’s store, only 1,000 units belong to blood group O and A, making up nearly 12 per cent of the total stored blood.

About 20 per cent of the whole population have blood group O and A, according to the NIHBT.

The NIHBT now has nearly 700 units of blood group AB, making up about eight per cent of the stored blood. About five per cent of the total population has such a blood group.

People wanting to donate blood can visit the NIHBT on Phạm Văn Bạch Street in Cầu Giấy District in Hà Nội from 8am-12pm and 1.30pm-5pm every day. They can also go to different blood donation spots including No 26 Lương Ngọc Quyến Street in Hoàn Kiếm District, No 132 Quan Nhân Street in Thanh Xuân District, No 10 Alley 122 Láng Street in Đống Đa District and No 1 Alley 40 Tạ Quang Bửu Street in Hai Bà Trưng District.

The addresses are available on the website

HCM City faces shortage

Similarly, the blood bank at the Blood Transfusion Hematology Hospital in HCM City is expected to run out of blood soon if the number of blood donors does not increase.

The hospital is calling for donors on its website. The blood bank provides blood to more than 120 health facilities in the city.

In previous years, March and April were the months when blood donation campaigns were held. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, these programmes have been postponed. 

Dr Phù Chí Dũng, the hospital’s director, said that the amount of donated blood in March was 50 per cent of the total blood provided to hospitals in the city.

In the beginning of this month, the amount of donated blood was 10 per cent of the total provided blood, Dũng said.

It is expected that stored blood will be at an alarmingly low level after April 14.  

Dr Trần Thị Như Tố, head of the city Humanitary Blood Donation Centre, said that the centre currently is receiving only 350 packages of blood each week, while 3,000-3,500 packages were donated each week in the past.

This month, only around 50 people have come to the centre to donate blood, Tố said.

Stored blood at the Centre for Blood Transfusion at Chợ Rẫy Hospital in the city also faces a risk of running out. The centre provides blood for hospitals in the southeastern region.

The centre has about 3,200 units of blood left and continues to provide blood to hospitals in the region every day.

However, Dr Lê Hoàng Oanh, the centre’s head, said that the stored blood would run out by mid-month. Only a few people had come to the centre to donate blood.

Many people are reluctant to go to the centre because they fear they will contact COVID-19, according to Oanh.

The Blood Bank and the Centre for Blood Transfusion at Chợ Rẫy Hospital have suggested that the Department of Health instruct health officials and families of patients to donate blood.

The department should urge hospitals to use blood for priority cases, including emergency aid, and for seniors and newborn patients, among others. 

On April 1, the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union of District 11 Hospital organised a programme to call on the hospital’s 110 health officials to donate blood.

Many individuals have also shared information about the need for blood for patients on their Facebook pages.

Huỳnh Hiếu, a member of Red Journey Club, which calls on people to donate blood, shared information on his Facebook page about a child with congenital leukemia who needed blood for surgery.

To respond to his call, 10 volunteers donated blood at the Children’s Hospital 2 where the patient was being treated. — VNS