China Blood Donations Rise but Struggle to Meet Demand

June 4, 2012

CHINA – In an effort to encourage blood donations, China’s Health Minister Chen Zhu donated plasma during a visit to Chengdu, in southwestern Sichuan province. This was the sixth time Chen donated blood since becoming Health Minister in 2007.  Before last month, he had previously donated plasma in December 2011, in the midst of a nationwide plasma shortage that threatened the production of medicines to treat hemophilia.


But even as blood donations rise, they are not always enough to meet an even greater increase in the need for blood.

Over the past three months, blood donations in China have risen although increased demand and volatile conditions continue to threaten regional shortages. According to the country’s Ministry of health, more than 2.9 million people had donated blood in Q1 2011, a 6.6% increase from the number of donors in the same period last year. In Q1 2012,  about 1,010 tonnes of blood were donated , a 6.08% increase from the previous year.

In eight provinces, donations increased 10% or more.  In Henan and Heilongjiang provinces, the increase was over 20%.

A decline in blood donors was reported in three provinces: Fujian, Qinghai, and the far western region of Xinjiang. In addition, the amount of blood donated declined in Hubei and Zhejiang provinces.

In Hohhot, capital of China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the city’s blood center reported that from 2010 to 2011, almost 2,000 more people had given blood, while the total amount of donated blood had increased by more than 2,000 units.

But this increase could not ensure adequate blood reserves to meet the city’s needs.  In May 2011, hospitals were told that surgery patients could not be guaranteed blood unless they or their relatives had donated.  In winter of that year, Hohhot’s main blood bank was forced to request additional supplies from the nearby city of Baotou.

Wu Nan, director of the Inner Mongolia Blood Bank, cited a recent growth of Hohhot’s medical infrastructure as a primary cause of the rising need for blood, noting that several major hospitals are currently expanding their size and operations.

Other health workers have noted the growing number of patients coming from outside the city to seek treatment.

Adequate blood supplies also remain susceptible to sudden, unpredictable changes.

According to the Health Ministry report, donations in Hainan province rose more than ten percent over the past year.  However the province’s blood bank announced last Saturday that supplies were currently at emergency levels, blaming heavy rains that have kept donors away over the past two weeks.



Category: Features, Health alert

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