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Save lives amid the pandemic by donating blood

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The Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) continues to provide blood donation services during the pandemic to help meet patient’s needs. However, with people forced to stay at home as much as possible this year, the number of blood donations being made has dropped significantly. As a result, BTS is finding it difficult to
meet the daily demand from local hospitals, and is calling on the general public to take action and support blood donation immediately.

Blood donation services are essential to ensuring the health of the community. and are not considered ‘mass gatherings’ – they are controlled events with trained staff and appropriate safety measures to protect donors and recipients. In response to the pandemic, BTS has implemented stringent measures to safeguard blood safety and infection control. Donors are required to put on a mask, have their temperature checked, and sanitise their hands before entering a donation area. The blood collection sites are also disinfected regularly.

The ‘whole blood’ collected is a mixture of Red Cell (red blood cells), Platelets and Plasma. Platelets are critically important to the survival of many patients with clotting problems (aplastic anaemia, leukaemia) or cancer, and patients about to undergo major surgeries. Plasma, the liquid portion of the blood, helps with clotting and supports immunity. It contains antibodies that fight off infections. Maintaining an adequate supply of  these lifesaving, perishable products is an ongoing challenge. BTS must keep enough stock to ensure a 100% supply of blood while keeping time expiry losses at a minimum.

Anyone aged between 16 and 66 years, who is in good health and weighs 41 kilogrammes or above can apply to donate whole blood. BTS screens donors (health history questionnaire, hemoglobin and blood pressure checking etc.) and only accepts donations from those who meet the exact eligibility criteria. Anyone returning from overseas must wait 28 days from the date of their arrival in Hong Kong before donating blood. Those who have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 must also defer from blood donation for 28 days.

The nearest donor centre to DB is the Central District Donor Centre. You can use the QR code (left) or the HK Blood App to make an appointment to donate blood at a centre that suits you best. The whole process, including health screening and post-donation rest time, takes about 45 minutes. To find out more, visit www5.ha.org.hk.

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