China will spend a total of 2.25 billion yuan on upgrading blood-collecting centers and stations around the country in order to stop the spread of such diseases as AIDS and hepatitis through blood transfusion.
At a signing ceremony of procurement and construction contracts in Beijing on Wednesday, Yu Guangzhou, Vice Minister in charge of the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC), said all the blood centers and stations in China will have the means to test against AIDS, hepatitis and other blood-transmitted diseases.
He said the country will equip the blood stations with the necessary buildings, facilities and vehicles as soon as possible. He said through the efforts China has made over the past two years, the country has come closer to the goal of establishing a nationwide network of safe blood collection and supply.
There are now more than 300 blood stations around China. In addition, more than 10,000 hospitals around the country have established blood transfusion centers.
According to the Red Cross Society of China, over 45 percent of the blood used in transfusions in 25 provinces and municipalities in the country was donated by volunteers in 2000. In some places, people sold their blood for money because the blood stations could not find enough donors. Backward facilities at the blood stations incurred high risks of the spread of epidemics.
Peng Peiyun, president of the Red Cross Society of China, said the country is facing a very serious situation with the spread of AIDS. She noted that the highest risk lies in unsafe blood transfusion and blood products.
But she said the problem can be easily curbed. According to the Ministry of Health, China spent 1.25 billion yuan in the construction and upgrading of blood stations. It will give training courses to all staff at the blood stations and implement a blood quality control program under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO) this year.
The country has already put into effect the Blood Donation Law and Regulations on Management of Construction of Blood Stations.
The SDPC said the government has already concluded a public bid for the supply of equipment for blood stations. Fourteen Chinese and international suppliers have won the contracts for 18 kinds of equipment and vehicles. China National Instruments Import and Export Corp. signed the contracts with the suppliers at the Great Hall of the People on Wednesday. The total value of the contracts is 396 million yuan.
The SDPC expects that all the construction and renovation projects will be completed by the end of this year. The construction of some new blood stations has already begun.
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2002)