Blood donation drive depends on persuasive publicity

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, October 28, 2010
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Kunming, the capital of Southwest China's Yunan Province, is going through its worst blood supply shortage in its history.

Since July last year, blood banks in Kunming have had difficulty meeting the blood demand from local hospitals. The blood supply there is now at its lowest level in a decade.

Kunming is not an isolated case. In recent years, big cities like Beijing, Nanjing and Qingdao have all reported an urgent need for blood. Consequently, hospitals have been criticized for delayed surgeries due to blood shortages.

Hospitals stopped buying blood from individuals in 1998, when the Blood Donation Law of China came into effect.

Volunteer blood donation has proven to be the most effective way to guarantee a safe and sufficient blood supply. When donating blood is not treated as a business, but a voluntary act to help others and save lives, the situation will improve and the risk of spreading diseases will fall.

Over the years, the Chinese Ministry of Health and related government departments have done some publicity work to encourage blood donation, but the publicity and education campaigns have not achieved the desired effect. There is still a pervasive sense of fear and hesitation toward blood donation.

Currently, the main source of blood donations comes from college students, government workers, and in times of desperation, from hospital staff.

But in some universities, blood donation is linked to scholarships. Companies and organizations tend to treat blood donation as a simple matter of obligation. Few people have a comprehensive understanding of the value of a blood donation. Volun-tary donations often are forced obligations, which causes repugnance among the donors.

In big cities during the summer and winter vacations, hospitals are always short of blood because the majority of students have gone home.

On a few occasions, government organizations and universities set quotas for their staff or students.

As a result, trading in illegal blood has become a lucrative business. Blood dealers that hook farmers up to illegal blood stations still exist, and farmers tend to go to those places to earn a bit of quick money. But the sanitary conditions are poor and some of the farmers ended up with diseases such as AIDS.

The lack of effective communication and publicity makes people indifferent or even unsupportive to this matter. The frequent blood shortages in China should be a reminder to the health organizations of the importance of education and promotion.

Only when ordinary people have a clear understanding of blood donation will the blood shortage disappear.

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