Blood donations from schools drop under new system
Hong Kong’s new 3+3+4 education system is taking a toll on an unlikely victim: the Red Cross, which says its blood bank is suffering from a drop in donations from secondary school students.
University students generally donate blood less often than secondary school students, Dr Lee Cheuk-kwong, a consultant to Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion, said yesterday.
“Among undergraduate students eligible to give blood, less than 10 per cent actually make donations. Among secondary school students the rate is 15 to 16 per cent,” he said.
Secondary school education was cut from seven to six years under the “3+3+4” reforms, starting in the 2009-2010 academic years; while standard university degrees increased from three to four years.
As a result, Lee said, the amount of blood collected by mobile collection teams at schools dropped last year.
Although the Red Cross increased the number of visits to universities, that did not increase the amount of blood collected.
“In secondary schools we arrange blood donation sessions class by class. It’s different in universities, as students have different electives,” he added.
That was the major reason behind the 14.6 per cent decline in the overall number of bags of blood collected by the mobile teams throughout Hong Kong.
The number of first-time blood donors also decreased, by 15.4 per cent, to 23,565.
Nevertheless, the shortfall was made up by an increase in the number of people visiting blood donation centres. All in all, total blood collection last year increased a slight 4.4 per cent to 244,594 bags.