“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7
The Quezon City Health Department and Lung Center of the Philippines intensified Monday, their blood-letting campaign called “Dugo para sa Dengue” to encourage the citizenry to give blood for dengue patients. The event was held in front of Quezon City Hall.
QCHD Population Program Officer Susan Azaula said the organizer of the event is Population Program chief Anita Espranza Arias, MD. The campaign was launched for over a month now due to dengue outbreak, Azaula added. The city government aims to cut morbidity and mortality in the area. Several deaths have already been reported resulting from it. According to DoH Assistant Secretary Dr. Eric Tayag, dengue often peaks in the month of August during the rainy season.
Meanwhile, Dr. Vic Zaldivar, medical staff Rhona Babilonia, Clifford Ruiz, Thelma Hernaez and Ronald Castillo comprised the bloodletting team from the Lung Center of the Philippines.
Surprisingly, volunteers responded positively to the call for help most of whom happened to be just passing by and immediately signed up to give their blood. Students, soldiers, priests, professionals, mothers, government and non-government employees, and even job-seekers lined up to be counted according to Azaula.
A group of smiling ladies from QCHD politely ushered volunteers to seat comfortably as another staff from the Lung Center handed down questionnaires to be accomplished by blood donors to determine medical history and condition. Initial interview is also conducted at this time.
Medical staff Hernaez checked the blood pressure of candidates. Dr. Vic Zaldivar did the last interview, short physical check up and noted down important additional information. The doctor asked the possible donor to sit down, breathe deeply and exhale to check respiration and heart rate.
Next stop was where the donor’s blood would be tested. The ring finger is pricked by a lancing device (A pen-like device that pricks the skin with fine needle, or lancet, to get blood sample for testing) and gently squeezed the finger to produce just a little amount of blood to a tiny one inch-cylinder. During this process, medical staff Babilonia will drop the blood sample from the cylinder to a glass with a blue colored solution. If a donor passed this test, he is ready for the procedure which would last for less than 20 minutes.
Medical technologists Clifford Ruiz and Ronald Castillo, took turns in conducting the procedure. Castillo said hospitals are running out of blood supply hence to vigorously campaign for blood donors is necessary. He added the blood will undergo further processing before it reaches the recipient.
Refreshments and a token (white hand-towel) with print “I am Volunteer BLOOD donor of Lung Center of the Philippines” were given to donors after the procedure.
Sadly, not all well-meaning donors passed the tests. The screening team denied a woman volunteer. She said she cannot go on further because of low hemoglobin. Women no matter how healthy, who have their menstrual period, cannot take part. Others who have medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and contagious diseases will not qualify. Some restrictions apply to persons sporting tattoos and pierced ears.
The blood you give will make others live. Let us donate blood for dengue victims.
“Little things can make a big difference.” – Malcolm Gladwell