Blood donors needed as supplies dwindle due to COVID-19

July 30, 2021 - 09:00

Blood transfusion hospitals and centres nation-wide now have faced the most difficult and stressful situation since 2020 so far due to blood shortages because the COVID-19 pandemic is showing very complex developments.

Blood donors at the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion in Hà Nội. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Blood transfusion hospitals and centres nation-wide have been facing a difficult and stressful situation since 2020 due to blood shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bạch Quốc Khánh, president of the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion said many blood donation events had been cancelled or postponed because of the pandemic.

Some localities have been unable to organise blood donation events for a long time, including Bắc Ninh Province, Bắc Giang Province and Hồ Chí Minh City, he said.

As a result, the amount of donated blood decreased significantly in blood transfusion hospitals and centres nation-wide while demand for blood for medical treatment at both central-level and local-level hospitals was still very high, he said.

Currently, many blood transfusion hospitals and centres can only serve 50-70 per cent of blood demand, he added.

Hành trình đỏ (Red Journey) – the largest annual blood donation campaign, which takes place in July every year, has also meet numerous difficulties in collecting donated blood this year due to the pandemic.

It is calculated that the campaign now only receives 30 per cent of what it would usually collect.

Patients calling for urgent help

When hospitals and centres don’t have enough blood for patients, many relatives of the patients have to call for help from the community via social networking sites.

Phạm Quốc Cương, of Thanh Hoá Province, for example, posted a status on his Facebook account to ask for blood donations for his father on July 16.

Cương’s father, 49, had been treated for cirrhosis and pneumonia in Thanh Hoá General Hospital. Cương’s father needed at least five units of type-A blood (equal to 1.25 litres of blood) for his treatment.

Nguyễn Giang, living in the northern province of Thái Nguyên, also called for blood donation for her mother last Sunday on her Facebook account. She said that her mother had Thalassaemia and urgently needed blood. Her mother has been treated in Thái Nguyên General Hospital.

Thảo Mai, a resident living in the northern province of Hải Dương also called for type-O blood donations for her niece, who was having emergency treatment in Hải Dương Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital on Monday.

Blood donation during pandemic

Khánh said it needed more attention and direction from leaders and officials at all levels to drive more blood donations and that could be managed safely during the pandemic.

He also said the blood transfusion hospitals and centres would ensure the highest safety for blood donors, including spraying disinfectants at blood-donating areas, arranging an appropriate time for each blood donor to limit the number of blood donors arriving at the same time, and reminding the blood donors to strictly comply with 5K messages of the Health Ministry.

When the pandemic continued showing complex developments, we needed to operate a substantive, effective and sustainable voluntary blood donation campaign, he said.

He added that each healthy person should donate blood regularly, at least once or twice a year.

To ensure the safety of blood donors during the pandemic, people are asked to make an appointment through the mobile application of “Hiến máu”, issued by the institute, before visiting the site.

After registering to donate blood via the app, there will be a message on the notification section on the app. At the same time, the institute will also send a message at the end of the day to the mobile phone of blood donors who have already registered via the app, to confirm their registration. The blood donors can use the message to present to authorised agencies when travelling on the road if needed.

If people need further information on blood donation or an invitation to donate blood, please contact the institute’s Blood Donor Call Centre (please contact 8am - 5pm daily) at the phone number 0976 99 00 66. People can register for platelet donation at 024.37821898.

Blood donors are required to install and make health declarations via the Bluezone application when they arrive at the blood donation stations.

There locations are currently taking blood donations:

In Hà Nội:

+ The National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at Phạm Văn Bạch Street, Cầu Giấy District, Hà Nội. From 8am to 8pm every day (including Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays).

+ Blood donation stations at No 26 Lương Ngọc Quyến Street, Hoàn Kiếm District, No 132 Quan Nhân Street, Thanh Xuân District and No 10, Lane 122 Láng Street, Đống Đa District. Hồng Bàng 8am - 12pm and 1:30pm - 5pm every day.

Please arrive 45 minutes before the closing time to register and check your health before donating blood.

In HCM City:

+ Blood Transfusion and Haematology Hospital, No 118 Hồng Bàng, Ward 12, District 5. The time for blood donation is 7am – 12pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm every day.

+ Chợ Rẫy Blood Transfusion Centre - Chợ Rẫy Hospital, Gate 5, Phạm Hữu Chí Street, Ward 12, District 5. The time for blood donation is 7am - 4pm from Monday to Friday.

+ Blood Donation Centre, No 106 Thiên Phước, Ward 9, Tân Bình District. The time for blood donation is 7:30am - 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, 7am - 11am on Saturday and Sunday. — VNS