Sun, Jan 13, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Blood donations needed as stocks hit pre-holiday low

LUNAR NEW YEAR:Blood transfusions increased by 35,700 last year, leading to a critical shortage this month, and the holidays could see stocks fall to a minimum

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

People dressed up as Darth Vader and stormtroopers from Star Wars hold up signs saying “Blood shortage” at an event in Taipei yesterday calling on residents to donate.

Photo: CNA

Blood stocks in greater Taipei yesterday equaled only about a six-day supply, the Taipei Blood Center said, adding that stocks usually drop during the Lunar New Year holiday and it encourages people to donate blood before then.

The Taiwan Blood Services Foundation on Jan. 3 reported a critical shortage of blood in Taipei, saying that stocks of three blood groups had plummeted to less than a three-day supply, the lowest reserves in two decades.

It yesterday said that the level has increased to about six days.

The center and the Rotary Club of Taipei at a blood donation event at Warner Village Cinema in the city’s Xinyi District (信義) encouraged people to “roll up their sleeves” to help others.

Stocks in Taipei dropped to as low as about 2.6 days last week, because most of the medical centers are in greater Taipei, center Director Hung Cheng-sheng (洪正昇) said, adding that blood transfusions increased by about 35,700 bags last year, causing a critical shortage earlier this month.

The Lunar New Year holiday will be nine days in total, including two weekends, and blood supply usually drops during the holiday, so the center hopes to increase the stock to a safe level of at least 10 days of supply before the festive period, he said.

Daily blood demand nationwide is about 6,500 bags, but to ensure safe supply for the holiday, healthcare institutions hope to receive about 8,000 bags per day and a total of 160,000 bags until the holiday, Taiwan Blood Services Foundation public relations director Li Lei (黎蕾) said.

Red blood cells have a shelf life of about 35 days, and the second and third days of the Lunar New Year are expected to see the lowest stocks, so people should donate now, she said.

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