Ubial: Blood donation must be an everyday thing
ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial encouraged Filipinos to make blood donation an “everyday thing" as the Philippines kicked off its National Blood Donor’s Month in Jaro, Iloilo City, on Tuesday July 5.
“Blood is a very important component to ensure the health and wellbeing of our people. Blood cannot be manufactured,” she said.
“When we donate blood, we give life,” added Ubial, who is a regular blood donor herself. The new health secretary has been a blood donation advocate since she started in the health department in 1989.
The target for 2016, Ubial said, is to collect 1 million blood units nationwide – equivalent to 1% of the country’s total population.
According to the World Health Organization, the blood donation of 1% of the population can meet a nation’s most basic requirements for blood.
In 2015, the Philippines fell short and only collected a total of 770,000 blood units.
Participants during Tuesday’s kick-off joined the unity walk past 7 am, and the blood drop formation around 8:30 am. An estimated 5,000 participants, including Ubial, joined the formation, breaking the previous national record of 2,500 participants.
Iloilo City's blood drop formation during the kick-off celebration of National Blood Donor's Month. Video c/o DOH pic.twitter.com/h8HtvjLqZ5— Jee Y. Geronimo (@jeegeronimo) July 5, 2016
According to Ubial, Western Visayas ranks second in the country when it comes to blood collection, next to Davao Region.
She envisions the establishment of about 20 blood centers nationwide, "probably one in every region [and] one in every major island.” She said there are only 8 blood centers in the country to date.
“The investment is already there, it’s in the budget and it’s now being laid out where,” she added.
For her, hospitals, and not blood centers, should be the ones ensuring the proper utilization of blood and blood products to patients.
"That’s the vision for the entire country: It's not the blood centers that should be releasing blood to patients. Blood centers should be releasing blood and blood products to hospital,” she explained in a mix of English and Filipino.
Ubial encourages member of media to donate blood too pic.twitter.com/RGW8xKp25S— Jee Y. Geronimo (@jeegeronimo) July 5, 2016
Ubial said the health department under her leadership will try to standardize blood processing fees across facilities, whether private or public.
"Another thing we're fixing is the processing fees of the poorest, and we will network with PhilHealth and I hope they will be one with us. For me, blood and blood products should be 100% covered by PhilHealth [and] should not be included in case rates,” she added.
On Tuesday, Ubial highlighted the benefits of donating blood on a regular basis.
“Since you donate blood on a regular basis, napapalitan blood cells mo, [your] bone marrow is stimulated to produce new blood lalo sa kalalakihan na hindi nagme-menstruate,” she said.
Blood donors willing to donate without any renumeration are encouraged to adopt a health lifestyle to be able to donate regularly. Donors undergo health screening before donating blood. – Rappler.com