Sat, Jun 15, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan leading in blood donation, safety

SAFE AND STABLE:The nation collects 100 percent of its blood supply from volunteers and conducts more tests than those recommended by the WHO

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Taiwan Blood Services Foundation dressed in costumes walk the streets of Ximending in Taipei yesterday to encourage people to donate blood as part of World Blood Donor Day.

Photo: CNA

Taiwan has outstanding records in blood donation, blood supply and blood safety, the Taiwan Blood Services Foundation reported yesterday as the world marked blood donor day.

The WHO yesterday celebrated the 10th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day, which is designed to “raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.”

Taiwan joined the cause in 2004, the foundation said.

According to the latest report published by the WHO, about 107 million blood donations are collected globally every year, and 60 countries collect 100 percent of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid donors.

With blood donations of 1,834,521 units, Taiwan had a blood donation rate of 78.9 donations per 1,000 people last year, the group said.

Taiwan also collects 100 percent of its blood supply from voluntary unpaid donors for clinical use, it said.

While the median blood donation rate in high-income countries is 39.2 donations per 1,000 people, which is about three to 10 times that of middle-income countries (12.6) and low-income countries (4.0), Taiwan’s 78.9 is twice the median rate in high-income countries, the foundation said, citing the WHO report’s data.

Annual donations last year from the six blood centers in the nation all exceeded the median annual donations per blood center in high-income countries, which is 15,000, according to the WHO’s latest data. The highest number of donations came from Taipei, at 526,216, while the lowest was from Hualien, at 83,536.

The foundation added that 99.08 percent of the blood donations collected last year have undergone blood plasma fractionation for the production of various blood products (such as red blood cells, platelets and plasma) — a rate that is higher than the 91 percent in high-income countries, 72 percent in middle-income countries and 31 percent in low-income countries.

Since blood safety is one of the major issues strongly advocated by the WHO, the global body recommends that all blood donations be screened for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis prior to use.

All the blood donations collected by the foundation undergo the aforementioned routine screenings, in addition to tests for alanine aminotransferase (ALT or SGPT, a liver test), human T-cell lymphotropic virus types I and II, and alloantibodies, it said.

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