As more and more communities are forming worldwide especially in countries where rh negative blood is very rare, our focus today is Vietnam:
Dr. Ngô Tấn Gia Phú of Chợ Rẫy Hospital’s Blood Transfusion Centre in HCM City, the head of a club for people with Rh-negative blood, formed to deal with emergencies, said:
“Many patients have died because of a shortage of blood of these types”.
In 2000, a patient with congenital heart disease, for example, was brought to the city’s Heart Institute for surgery, but the operation could not be performed until blood was received from donors.
Although donations were finally collected, the patient died while waiting.
In other cases, doctors have had to contact foreign agencies and hospitals in other countries to ask for rare blood types.
People with these less common blood types have set up clubs in case of urgent need, according to Phú.
The southern region’s club at first had 12 members, but now has between 500 and 600.
Even so, the clubs are not enough to satisfy demand.
Many people in the country do not know their blood type, and are unaware there is a need for rare types.
“Each person should be tested at healthcare clinics. And it’s even simpler if they volunteer to join blood donation programmes and receive general health exams and tests,” Phú said.
If they have a rare blood type, they should join the clubs, he added.
The woman from HCM City who needed a blood transfusion during her pregnancy years ago is now a member of a club managed by HCM City Humanitarian Blood Donation Centre.
The club has called her at least once to donate blood.
At a recent press meeting held in the city, Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Anh Trí, head of the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion in Hà Nội, said that before 1993 the nation’s blood supply came mostly from people who sold their blood.
Since then, many blood donation campaigns have been organised, providing nearly 97 per cent of the country’s blood supply.
Last year, around 1.4 million units of blood were collected in the country, an increase of 110.5 per cent compared to 2014.
Blood transfusion centres in the country have also received nearly 55,600 units of platelet cells separated from the blood of donors.
These platelets are needed for patients with certain diseases that lead to a drop in platelet cells, especially dengue fever.
As a result, more blood donation campaigns have been organised, including the Red Journey effort.
Red Journey plans campaigns this year in 27 provinces and cities, an increase of five compared to last year.
It will also disseminate information about thalassemia, an inherited form of anaemia. Patients with this condition need regular blood transfusions.
(Source: “Wanted: Vietnamese with rare blood types”)
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