By Philippine News Agency
The Department of Health (DOH) in Cordillera has intensified training of health workers at the barangay level in extracting blood and encouraging more voluntary blood donors among the locals.
Roselyn Reyes, a blood bank nurse at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC), said Thursday the initiative is aimed at boosting blood supply and meet the demand in the region.
“The different barangays are our primary partners in blood donation. They help us by encouraging their constituents to support us in our mobile blood drive,” she said.
The intensified blood donation drive in Cordillera came at a time when dengue cases, which often need blood transfusion, more than doubled in the highland region this year.
A recent report from the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) showed there were 1,540 dengue cases recorded in the Cordillera region from January to June 2018, up by 120 percent from 700 cases during the same period last year.
The report showed Kalinga had 333 cases of dengue or 21.6 percent of the total number of dengue cases; Benguet, 332 cases, or 21.6 percent; Apayao, 240 cases or 15.6 percent; and Baguio City, 165 cases or 10.7 percent of the total.
Abra had 154 cases, or 10 percent of the total; Ifugao, 47 cases, or 3.1 percent; and Mountain Province, 41 cases, or 2.7 percent, based on reports from the Disease Reporting Units (DRUs) in the various localities.
Reyes said the BGHMC was named the lead blood service facility of the Cordillera. The region’s top tertiary hospital receives patients from the entire Cordillera, Regions 1, 2, and 3.
Reyes said the blood extraction training among local health workers had actually started n September 2017.
The training includes donor recruitment, retention, and care. Reys said this is expected to draw more voluntary blood donors and reach the 12,000 donors aimed by BGHMC for 2018.
She said for the first quarter of 2018, a series of training was conducted among barangay health workers, district nurses, as well as midwives from the provinces of Ifugao, Abra, and Apayao. Training in Kaling and Apayao was conducted last May.
Reyes related that in 2017, the BGHMC targeted over 10,000 units of blood, but was only able to get 9,930 units. The lack in the requirement, she said, was augmented by the Philippine Red Cross chapters in Baguio and Benguet.
She said with the training reaching more people, the barangays in the Cordillera provinces are encouraged to schedule their own blood donation activities every month.
She said in 2016, BGHMC collected 9,399 units of blood, which benefited 4,535 recipient patients. For 2017, the hospital collected 9,930 units of blood that benefited 5,716 patients.
She said the Philippine Red Cross helps in filling in the gap for the blood needs of BGHMC patients, in cases when supply for the needed blood types is not enough.
For the first half of 2018, the BGHMC collected 5,432 units of blood, which were already transfused to 2,819 patients.
Reyes said blood is vital not only to dengue patients, but also to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, blood-related illnesses like anemia, leukemia, and hemophilia, and trauma cases resulting from vehicular accidents.
To celebrate National Blood Donors month this July, the BGHMC is set to stage mobile blood donation drives in various places in the Cordillera.
The activity is set in Bontoc, Mountain Province on July 12; Lamut, Ifugao on July 18; Bangued, Abra on July 25; Tabuk City, Kalinga on July 26; and La Trinidad, Benguet on July 31. A blood donation drive will also be done in the third week of July in Baguio.
Reyes said donating blood regularly has health benefits for the donor. She said it allows blood-forming organs, such as the liver and bone marrow, to produce more blood cells. It also boosts the immune system and regenerates blood circulation.
The donor is also automatically checked for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Malaria, Human Immunodeficiency Virus(HIV), and Syphilis, as the absence of any of these diseases assures the safety and cleanliness of the blood being transfused to a patient.