Press Releases

On the Establishment of a Philippine Blood Services Network

November 8th, 2023

House Committee on Health
8 November 2023

Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda

A 2021 study by the Department of Medical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Santo Tomas shows that the most significant motivation for blood donation is “I will donate blood if my family, relatives or friends need it.” Next to that, the motivation is “I will donate blood if the staff of the blood donation facilities are hospitable, welcoming, and have high quality of care.”

For the purpose of bolstering the dynamism and responsiveness of our blood supply, however, having blood donations when relatives need it is already too late. Estimates suggest that we need at least 730,000 units of blood every year, given that hospitals report needing about 2,000 units per day. At this rate, the PRC might be able to collect 540,000 units of blood this year, which will be short by at least 190,000 units.

So, it seems to me that people are not exactly looking for monetary incentives for blood donation, but are not quite ready to donate regularly to mere strangers either. This study suggests that if we improve blood collection facilities, this is an investment that will improve blood donations.

The efficiency of allocation will also be critical. We need to be more dynamic in allocating blood. So, it has to be stored as close to where it will be needed. Having a lot of blood stored in Manila when the blood is needed in Mindanao will not be very useful.

So, here are my demands for this policy:

First, we need to keep close track of the demand for blood by hospitals – and be algorithmic about allocating and storing blood. Clearly, there is an argument for a strong national database and real-time monitoring.

Second, there has to be some sort of incentive. If people are not looking for monetary incentives for blood donation, there should at least be incentives for those who provide the facilities for blood donations – especially if the quality of the facility is the main driver.

Third, proper storage, handling, and transport is critical. To be data-driven, I would like to know how much blood we waste and whether there are seasons where blood donation is in acutely short supply.

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