MANILA, Philippines – Healthy individuals who wish to donate blood are not required to undergo a COVID-19 RT-PCR test and submit their negative results at blood banks, the Department of Health’s (DOH) National Voluntary Blood Services Program said on Tuesday.
During the Laging Handa public briefing, program manager Dr. Marites Estrella explained that eligible blood donors undergo pre-screening before they head to blood banks.
“Hindi na po natin kailangan ng RT-PCR Test para po mag-donate ng dugo kasi unang-una po ang mga nagdo-donate ng dugo ay yung mga healthy individuals lang,” Estrella said.
“Of course, yung health protocols natin kung ano yung mga symptoms ng COVID-19 at exposure nila, tinatanong na rin natin yan,” she added.
Estrella said that blood donors must be aged 18 and 65 years old, must weigh at least 50 kilograms and do not have co-morbidities. They must also be well hydrated, and have at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep before donating blood.
She advised those who wish to donate blood to call or coordinate with nearest blood center for the pre-screening.
Estrella said blood donations declined by 22 percent in 2020 following the imposition of community quarantine restrictions in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
From 1.38 million units of blood in 2019, she said only 1.04 million units of blood were collected last year.
“Ang atin kasing suplay ng dugo dapat one percent of the total population… Bumaba po ang collection natin ng dugo mula po ng magkaroon tayo ng lockdowns at mayroon po tayong restrictions,” she said.
Estrella added that donated blood units are used for individuals undergoing dialysis and other patients in need of transfusion.
“Mayroon tayong mga pasyente na nagka-COVID na nagda-dialysis araw-araw, mayroon tayong mga bumaba ang hemoglobin at kailangan nilang salinan… Bumaba ang platelet na kailangan din pong salinan depende po iyan,” she said.
To address declining donated blood supplies, Estrella said the DOH has adjusted its policies by intensifying its blood services network with other concerned agencies.
“Kung wala pong type A doon sa isang hospital at mayroong maraming type A doon sa pangalawang hospital, yun po ay nagsi-share sila para lang po matugunan ang pangangailangan ng ating mga pasyente sa kanilang transfusion ng dugo bawa’t araw,” she said.
The DOH encouraged the public, especially young people, to donate blood to ensure adequate supply amid the pandemic. RRD (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)