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SPMC calls for more blood donors

THE SOUTHERN Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) calls for more blood donors to maintain the blood supply available to meet the blood needs of patients in the hospital. 

Maria Lourdes B. Guerra, SPMC Blood Production Services (BPS) supervisor, said the hospital needs an average of 100 units of blood daily. One unit is roughly equivalent to one bag of donated blood. 

Maria Lourdes B. Guerra

Guerra added while blood collection increased, the demand also shot up. For 2023 alone, the hospital collected 44,467 units of blood.

Para magkaroon tayo ng continous supply, the donation also needs to be continuous,” she said. 

Guerra also debunked myths about donating blood which is the fear of getting weak afterward, which hinders individuals from doing so.

“An average individual has 70-80 cc of blood per kilogram, if ever someone donates blood, the blood collected is only 430 cc, half of which is water, which can be replaced after 24-48 hours, there is no need to worry,” she said.

Janson B. Cajegas, SPMC BPS donor recruitment officer, said there is a constant need for blood donation drives in the community to sustain the supply since the units have a short shelf life.

Whole blood used for transfusion for blood loss due to trauma or surgery can be stored for 35 days while Platelet concentrates for cancer treatment, and organ transplants last for five days.

Frozen plasma (liquid portion of blood) used for burn patients, shock, and bleeding disorders can be refrigerated for one year.

Cajegas clarified there is no shortage of blood in the hospital, however, continuous blood collection is needed as SPMC not only caters to patients from the region but also to the neighboring provinces such as Surigao, 

He added monthly blood collection in SPMC averaged 4,000 units. As of June, the collection is estimated at 24,000 units, with Type O as the most common.

All individuals aged 16-65, weighing 50 kilos and above, are eligible to donate provided they are not sickly and are not involved in risky behaviors such as having multiple sexual partners.

Meanwhile, those with body piercings and tattoos can still donate, after 12 months from getting it.  

Interested donors may visit three blood service facilities in the city including SPMC BPS, Philippine National Red Cross, and Sub-National Blood Center Davao under the Department of Health.

Donors including their dependents will be prioritized in access to blood during lean months, when supply from the program partners cannot organize blood donation activity due to budgetary constraints.

SPMC advised that blood is free, however, blood processing costs P1,000- P1,800 per unit depending on the blood product needed. Fees can be covered through PhilHealth, Lingap, and Malasakit to avoid out-of-pocket expenses. 

Photos: Bing Gonzales



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