Cotabato City (August 17, 2015) – The Department of Health of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DOH-ARMM) is intensifying its blood donation drive that would lead to a fully voluntary blood donation system at the grassroots level.
On Thursday, August 13, DOH-ARMM conducted an advocacy orientation on National Voluntary Blood Service Program of the department to more than 20 municipal planning and development coordinators from the province of Maguindanao.
The coordinators are expected to conduct orientation on voluntary blood donation and bloodletting activities at the grassroots level in their respective towns with assistance from the region’s Health department.
Dr. Pancho Cruz, ARMM’s coordinator for the National Voluntary Blood Service Program, said voluntary blood donation is a “humanitarian act,” thus urging the coordinators to allocate funds for the operations as well as logistics in maintaining the program.
The municipal governments of Parang and Upi in Maguindanao are currently holding a monthly bloodletting. This activity helps collect adequate blood units allowing patients from the two towns to avail of blood easily and for free whenever needed at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in this city.
The DOH-ARMM has also established a partnership with the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center that helps patients from the region to avail of blood easily. But Dr. Cruz said in three out of 10 cases, patients do not get the blood they need because of insufficient supply from the blood banks.
He added that only one out of 500 Filipinos voluntarily donates blood. The ideal number of blood units per town must be equivalent to 10% of its total population, he said. That is equal to, for example, to 1,679 units for Kabuntalan town with 16,794 people based on 2010 census.
Republic Act 7719, or the National Blood Services Act of 1994 mandates voluntary blood donation by the citizenry to promote public health in the country. In the Philippines, seven out of every 10 units of blood transfused come from paid donors.
Blood from a paid donor, Health officials said, is three times more likely to have any four blood transmissible diseases such as malaria, syphilis, hepatitis B, or even Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
Orientation on the 17th National Sandugo Awards, to be held in 2016, was also conducted on the same day urging government officials and employees to participate in activities related to blood donation. (Bureau of Public Information)