Surigaonons aren’t ‘blood givers’ – blood banks

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 1 Aug) – Don’t count on Surigaonons, specifically those in Surigao del Norte, to donate blood. They are more on the receiving end.

This is the observation of two blood banks in the city, who said they have been struggling just to cope with the shortage of blood.

Ralph Condrad L. de Guzman, a nurse at the Caraga Regional Hospital Blood Bank, said they been calling on individuals and groups here to donate blood, but their please apparently fell on deaf ears. “You can seldom count on people here to donate their blood,” he lamented.

Many of the donors, he said, come from the towns in neighboring Dinagat Island.

The towns of San Jose, Dinagat, Cagdianao and Basilisa – all in Dinagat province – have been reliable sources because of their blood-letting activities, De Guzman said.

The Red Cross corroborates De Guzman’s observation.

Almejoy P. Sadangsal, the local chapter service representative for the group’s blood program, said that the lack of information campaign and awareness among the people with regards the benefits of donating blood could be the reason.

She stressed that donating blood every three months is ideal as the bone marrow is stimulated to produce new red blood cells.

“Donating blood constantly will make our blood-forming organs function more effectively,” she said, adding that it is equivalent to changing oil in a car. This means donating blood will make a person feel better, Sadangsal pointed out.

De Guzman said that from January 1 to July 25 this year, the regional hospital’s blood bank had collected a total of 1,938 bags. Each bag contains 450 to 500 cubic centimeters.

He said that last year, they dispensed at least 3,500 bags of blood. This figure includes the blood they got from blood banks in nearby areas like in Butuan City.

De Guzman said every time they fall short of supply, they would call nearby blood banks for help. Other blood banks would do the same in case they do not have enough supply.

Last Monday, the blood bank siphoned 68 bags of blood from a blood-letting activity at the Surigao del Norte provincial capitol. De Guzman said these bags will undergo several tests to ensure these are safe for use

The Red Cross chapter, on the other hand, collected a total of 690 blood bags and dispensed 531 in 2011. Last year, Sangsal said they targeted 700 bags but they collected 861 bags instead.

This year from January to June they got a total of 402 bags and dispensed at least 407 bags.

Sadangsal said they still fall short of supply because less people come to their office to donate blood. Furthermore, the donated blood could not be preserved for a long time because it expires in just 35 days.

July is Blood Donor’s Month, said De Guzman, with the theme “Give the gift of life, donate blood.” And the blood bank had initiated several campaigns and blood-letting activities.

But De Guzman said these efforts are not enough.

“We can always hear about campaigns against dengue, HIV, Tuberculosis, diabetes, among others. But hearing about campaign on blood donation is rare, he stressed.

De Guzman said that since last year, the blood bank has shortage of white blood because of the rising number of dengue patients. He said that dengue patients are in dire need of white blood cells.

Among the few Surigaonons who donate blood is Faustino Navarro of Barangay Luna. He said he donates blood every three months not only to become healthy but also to help someone in need.

Last Monday, Junjun Magallanes rushed to the blood bank of the Caraga Regional Hospital for a relative who was confined there.

“Blood is very important. Like, right now my uncle needed it most because he suffered blood loss because of his illness,” he said.

A frequent donor himself, Magallanes said the act of donating blood is very important. Without it, thousands would die every day, he added.

“When my wife was hospitalized last year, it was perfect timing because I had my blood reserved. We are the of same blood type,” he said.