Sat, Dec 28, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Dwindling stock triggers call for blood donations

RUNNING LOW:January is the lowest month for blood donations, because of the colder weather and Lunar New Year holiday, a blood services group says

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Blood Services Foundation is calling for blood donations with only five days of supply remaining in the donor blood stock.

The foundation said yesterday that next month usually has the lowest intake of blood donations, likely due to the Lunar New Year vacation and colder weather.

The foundation’s Blood Donation Month calls for people to give blood generously.

“Taiwan’s blood donation rate has been at about 8 percent for the past two or three years, but with a decreasing birthrate and many people born in the 1950s reaching the upper age limit of 65 soon, we are expecting a smaller proportion of people that are eligible to donate,” foundation chairman Hu Huey-te (胡惠德) said.

The “rare-blood” registry, established more than 25 years ago, is also growing as more people from other countries are settling here, the foundation said.

In 1986, a French priest had an urgent need for 2,000cc of O-type blood free of special antigens C, e and Fy(a) for gastric ulcer surgery.

As O-type blood is rare in Asians (about one in 1,000 have it), yet fairly common among Caucasians (about one in eight have it) — the foundation was only able to collect 500cc.

It was only after an emergency call to a French blood center that the blood was eventually delivered, the foundation said, adding that it was this incident that triggered the establishment of the rare-blood registry.

Another rare blood type among Asians is Rh-negative, which accounts for 0.3 percent of the Taiwanese population, the foundation’s chief executive officer Wei Sheng-tang (魏昇堂) said.

“Other blood types that have been defined as rare in Taiwan include RzRz, Rh-null, Jk(a-b-), Fy(a-b-), s(-), Di(a+b-),” Wei added.

“We have not yet found one Taiwanese with Rh-null,” the foundation’s research chief Pai Shun-chung (白舜仲) said.

Hu said it pays to donate if you have a rare-blood type.

“People registered in the rare-blood registry, by helping others, are actually benefiting themselves. They would need blood from their special group should an emergency occur.”

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