Sun, 28 Feb 2021

LGUs must lead in blood drives, DILG urges

Philippine Information Agency
15 Jan 2021, 19:38 GMT+10

CALAMBA CITY, Jan. 15 (PIA) - Local government units (LGUs) may soon adopt regular blood donation drives as their projects in order to help maintain the country's blood supply during medical emergencies.

During the recent 'Dugo Mo, Buhay Ko' Awareness campaign for local voluntary blood and convalescent plasma donation, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), together with some health experts, underscored the role of LGUs in promoting voluntary blood donations.

In his message, DILG Undersecretary for Peace and Order Bernardo Florece, Jr. encouraged local chief executives to pass ordinances adopting the country's Blood Donation program in their communities.

"Your participation will help maintain the supply of blood for medical emergencies," Florece urged.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for convalescent plasma, which is a passive antibody therapy that was found to help decrease viral burden, serum cytokines and even mortality among patients infected with H1N1, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-1) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Convalescent plasma (CP) found in human blood can help in the government's response for emerging and re-emerging infections such as the coronavirus, which caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data from the National Voluntary Blood Services Program (NVBSP) in December 2019 show that around 1,384,662 total blood donations have been made in the 34 blood service facilities in the country.

Despite the high demand in CP during the pandemic, authorities have advised recovered COVID-19 patients against buying and selling of convalescent plasma which poses serious health risks, such as the transmission of HIV, hepatitis, and malaria.

"For the sake of blood safety, priority should be given to the elimination of family/replacement and paid donor systems, which is related to transfusion-transmittable infections (TTIs)." NVBSP Manager Maritess Estrella said.

"Convalescent plasma is a limited resource, [but] we don't want donors to be paid. If they start to get paid, it may have implications on the safety of both the recipient and donor." warns Philippine Blood Center Head, Dr. Pedrito Tagayuna.

To recall, the Department of Health has called on hospital administrators and LGUs to investigate the trade of convalescent plasma outside the realm of authorized health facilities amid their call to the public to only donate blood voluntarily to assure their health and safety. (PB)

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