Thu, Jul 10, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Kaohsiung councilors try to give blood

By Chiu Yu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Scandal-ridden Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Chu An-hsiung has a blood sample taken yesterday.

PHOTO: HOU CHENG-HSU, TAIPEI TIMES

With southern Taiwan facing its worst blood shortage in 26 years, members of the scandal-ridden Kaohsiung City Council yesterday rolled up their sleeves to donate blood and try to repair their reputations.

Council Speaker Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄) led the drive, but his hypertension prevented him from donating blood yesterday. Health conditions also stopped some of his colleagues from donating.

Doctors said they would not allow people to donate blood if they have chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, or lung disease, or acute conditions such as flu, fever or diarrhea.

Mobile vans operated by the Kaohsiung Blood Center of the Chinese Blood Services Foundation pulled up in front of the council building yesterday morning to take the donations from councilors.

For many of them, including Chu, it was their first time.

"I used to urge employees of my companies to donate blood because it's meaningful," Chu said.

Li Yu-jen (李雨仁), the center's director, said the situation in the south was critical, with blood supplies down to two days.

According to the center, the average daily consumption of blood before SARS hit the city in April was 1,000 units. Each unit contains 250cc of blood.

During the SARS outbreak between April and last month, demand fell to 600 units a day as hospitals postponed operations.

Now the outbreak is over, hospitals have been working through the backlog of operations, increasing the demand for blood to 1,200 units a day.

However, officials said, the amount of blood donated in the first half of the year was 2 percent less than the same period last year.

It was the first time in 26 years that the center had suffered a drop in donations, they said.

By yesterday afternoon, the center only had 2,400 units of blood. The center can hold more than 8,400 units, which can last at least a week, officials said.

The arrival of the summer vacation also means that students, who gave 22 percent of all blood donations last year, disperse to their hometowns and are less likely to give blood, officials said.

They predicted that the situation would not improve until September, when new semester begins.

To make up the shortfall, the center will soon target large enterprises, the army and department stores.

The councilors' attempt to give blood yesterday came a little more than six months after a majority of them were implicated in a vote-buying scandal for the election of the council's speaker.

In the middle of last month, Chu resumed office after five and a half months in custody.

On Tuesday, when the council began a new special session, Chu visited media agencies to promote his measures to reform the council.

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