Monday, September 21 2020

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Young man drives blood donation movement in Central Highlands

Update: July, 17/2020 - 09:46

 

Hoàng Công Minh engaged in blood donation movement since he was a student at Tây Nguyên University. — Photo vietnamnet.vn

ĐẮK LẮK — The noble act of blood donation goes a long way to saving lives and one young man in the Central Highlands has played a significant role in delivering safe blood to the needy in hospitals.

Hoàng Công Minh, 28, comes from Đắk Lắk Province and first got involved in blood donation when he was a student at Tây Nguyên University.

“At first, I joined my friends taking part in blood donation just for fun but once I visited the hospital and saw several patients in critical condition while there was not enough blood for transfusions.”

“Some could not wait and died. I was really shocked. I didn't think that there were such unfortunate people. After that, I donated blood more often,” Minh was quoted as saying by online Vietnamnet newspaper.

Minh said he has donated blood 15 times so far and intends to keep doing while his health allows it.

He has also encouraged his friends and relatives to donate blood.

In 2013, he set up a blood donation club of volunteers who can give blood when hospitals need it.

To facilitate the operation of the club, Minh has listed the donors, their addresses, phone numbers and blood types. Anyone looking for blood donors can call the hotline managed by Minh.

“Regardless of day or night, whenever I get a call from someone who needs a blood transfusion, I will search for suitable donors and rush them to the hospital. Many patients have been saved thanks to timely blood transfusions,” he told Việt Nam News.

Minh posts information on the Facebook page of the club so more people know about blood donation demand and to ensure there is always blood available for emergencies.

In the beginning, the club worked only in Đắk Lắk Province before it gradually spread all over the Central Highlands. The number of club members has also increased from 30 to more than 200.

His club has helped about 2,000 patients over the past eight years.

To join the blood donation club, the person must weigh more than 45 kilos and not use any stimulants. They should keep at least three months between blood donations, Minh said, adding that volunteers in the club regularly check their health and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Apart from blood donation, donors have also volunteered for platelet donation.

According to Minh, platelet donation is different from a blood donation. Blood donors can only give every three months, while it takes only several weeks for platelet donors to recover.

The demand for platelets is high and platelet deficiency is a problem at hospitals.

Minh said his club members contributed up to 90 per cent of platelet donations for hospitals in the Central Highlands.

A member of the blood donation club of the Central Highlands presents milk for a child suffering from thalassemia. — Photo vietnamnet.vn

Challenges

Minh said his blood donation club has faced a lot of challenges as it lacks financial support.

In the early days, few people knew about the existence of the club so Minh and other club members asked doctors and nurses at the hospitals to spread the hotline to the needy. They even put a notice on the walls of hospitals to inform the public.

“My club members work on a not-for-profit basis and patients do not have to pay any fees. However, when there’s a need to mobilise a large amount of blood, I often use my own money to pay the fare and food for donors who live far away,” he said.

As a result, most of his salary is spent on running the club.

Most of the patients in need of blood transfusions have suffered traffic or work-related accidents, gastrointestinal bleeding or pregnant women with haemorrhages so it’s common for club members to go to the hospital late at night.

Witnessing his hardship, his parents advised him to give up many times but Minh convinced them of the importance of his work and now they encourage him.

The support from other club’s members also made things easier for him.

Minh said there was an incident that occurred last year that left an unforgettable memory.

An ethnic minority mother brought her daughter who suffered thalassemia for treatment. The daughter needed a blood transfusion but the hospital had run out of her blood type.

Due to a lack of money, the mother intended to take her home.

A doctor gave Minh’s phone number to the mother but she hesitated to call. With encouragement from people in the hospital, the mother called him. The blood donation happened soon after that. Minh said he remembered when the transfusion finished, the mother gave him VNĐ100,000.

“I returned the money to the mother and gave some cakes and milk to her daughter,” he said.

To his surprise, the mother suddenly knelt down and thanked Minh and the club members.

Recently, relatives of a patient with late-stage blood cancer contacted him. They wanted to receive two platelet units before coming home. Volunteers arrived at the scene but the patient died due to a problem with the machine used to separate platelets from the blood.

Upon hearing the news, Minh choked, feeling like his heart was broken. It motivated him to work harder.

Talking about his future plans, he said he wished that there were better connections for blood donation between provinces.

“Sometimes I receive calls for blood from people in northern provinces. I feel so sorry because I can’t help.”

“I hope that our contributions will help more people. The fact that we are healthy is a privilege. Why don’t we share this specific benefit to make life more meaningful?” he said. — VNS

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