DoH warns the public about blood donation scams
Through Patricia B. Mirasol
THE PUBLIC must remain vigilant against scams related to the sale and donation of blood, according to the Department of Health (DoH) and the National Voluntary Blood Services Program (NVBSP).
While the DoH has no data on the number of blood donation scams that have been reported during the pandemic, the problem is alarming enough to merit public awareness, the Under Secretary of Health said. Ma. Rosario S. Vergeire.
âThe DoH and the NVBSP have taken note of national news broadcast [in September] concerning a family that has been scammed by a âblood donorâ. Both DoH and NVBSP condemn such acts, âshe told Business world in an email. The health agency has released print ads to warn the public of these scams.
The aforementioned report described a critically ill 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) patient with a rare blood group (AB +) requiring blood transfusion. The patient’s family was scammed for P5,000 by a stranger on Facebook who indicated their willingness to donate blood, but needed an initial amount first to pay the fare to the hospital.
Blood donation scams are caused by patients in need of blood or blood products who are forced to seek out such authorized outside institutions, if or when the blood stocks of the hospital where the patient is admitted are not sufficient. .
âI heard from one patient, an employee of the National Center for Mental Health, that there is a black market for blood,â said Dr. Manuel R. Velasco, Jr., hematology researcher at Makati Medical Center. (MMC), in a Viber Message to Business world. âIt’s hard to do because blood transfer and networking can only happen between blood banks. There is a necessary cold chain for some of the blood, and time is an important factor. ”
Dr. Velasco’s patient, however, insisted that there is a group that can provide blood to anyone, anytime.
The safest source of blood and blood products is from regular, unpaid volunteer blood donors, said Dr Vergeire, the prevalence of transfusion-transmissible infections is the lowest among this population. The DoH is encourage volunteers donate blood to ensure a safe and sufficient supply.
According to World Health Organization, 79 countries collect more than 90% of their blood supply from voluntary, unpaid blood donors. Fifty-six countries, by contrast, collect more than half of their blood supply from family or paid donors.
The MMC blood bank has no control over paid donors and discourages direct blood donors because there is a tendency to lie in the screening process, Dr Velasco said. “Although this does not affect the safety of the blood and the tests are standard, it can affect the safety of the donor,” he added. – with BrontÃ« H. Lacsamana
To report blood fraudsters, contact the Department of Health and the National Voluntary Blood Services Program at (02) 89953846 or [email protected].