Fri, Jan 07, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan's supply of blood down to a five-day stock

DONATION DRIVEAll six of the nation's blood banks are running low and the president wrote a letter yesterday urging people to make a contribution

CNA , Taipei

Blood donors relax in front of personal entertainment screens whilst giving blood in a special center set up by the Taiwan Blood Donation Association yesterday. The association has designated the period from today until Feb. 7 as ``Blood Donation Month,'' in preparation for the Lunar New Year Holidays, when blood banks tend to run low on supplies.

PHOTO: WANG YI-SONG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Taiwan Blood Services Foundation yesterday appealed for the public to donate blood, saying that all six of the island's blood banks are running low.

Foundation Chairman Lin Kuo-hsin (林國信) made the appeal at a news conference to announce the beginning of a month-long blood donation drive starting Friday. A letter from President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) urging the public to donate blood was also read.

Lin noted that blood banks in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Hualien have less than a one-week safe supply each. The blood bank in Taipei has less than a five-day stock.

Lin said the public donated 2.33 million units (one unit equals 250cc) in 2004, which met medical needs. But he said that there is always a seasonal supply and demand imbalance, adding that blood shortages often occur during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

Chang Ying-er (張英二), chief executive officer of the foundation, said that with the declining birth rate, the reform of compulsory military service and the busy schedule of students, young people are less inclined to donate blood, a shortfall that will have to be make up by the general public. He said that "new blood" is urgently needed.

In line with the blood donation drive, E.Sun Bank has announced that it will give points to blood donors which they can redeem for gifts, while Noble Family steakhouse and a dumpling restaurant also said that they would give discounts or coupons to those who donate blood.

The foundation, formally called Chinese Blood Services Foundation, has adopted "Taiwan Blood Services Foundation" as its new name in support of a campaign promoting name-changes for organizations bearing a name similar to those in China, foundation officials said yesterday.

The officials said blood donation in Taiwan is non-paying, self-sufficient and safe, which they said is totally different from the situation in China.

While it costs very little for a civic organization to change its name, the move is very helpful in avoiding confusion, they said.

The pro-independence Alliance to Campaign for Rectifying the Name of Taiwan, supported by former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), has for several years been promoting name-changes for organizations whose names bear the word "China" or "Chinese."

President Chen Shui-bian said last month that the government plans to change the names of Republic of China overseas missions and state-run enterprises to include the word "Taiwan" within two years.

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