Transfusion service not complacent
I refer to the letter from Kwok Tak-ming headlined 'Give blood plea' (South China Morning Post, April 25).
Your correspondent felt more could be done to increase public awareness of the benefits to the community of donating blood.
The Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) supplies all Hong Kong's blood requirements from its pool of loyal, local blood donors, most of whom donate on a regular basis. Between the ages of 16 and 65, men can donate four times a year and women three times a year. Over the past few years there has been no requirement for emergency appeals and we have not had to import supplies. All peaks in demand and emergencies have been covered.
Mr Kwok does, however, raise a highly important issue and one that the BTS is anxious to emphasise.
There is, as yet, no substitute for human blood and, with an ever-growing population and the increasing prevalence of more complex surgery, notably transplant surgery, our requirements for blood donors will continue to grow. To meet this need, the BTS is particularly active in terms of public awareness and education campaigns. This effort includes a continuous flow of material to all areas of the local media, a comprehensive Web site (www.ha.org.hk/rcbts), extensive sponsorship of and publicity for our donor centres and mobile blood collection vehicles and sessions, posters, exhibitions, a special public education team of nursing staff (to target community groups and to provide comprehensive information about blood-related issues), and the distribution of a special VCD concerning blood donation and safety, distributed to public and school libraries. The list goes on, but it serves to emphasise we are not complacent. We are proactive in promoting the message that blood donation is a vital and generous act which provides the hope of life to all those who are seriously ill or injured.
As 2002 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the blood collection service in Hong Kong by the Red Cross, there will be a number of events, in particular, public lectures at community halls, which will be aimed at further improving the public's understanding and knowledge of blood donation and transfusion and of the BTS.
We commend Mr Kwok for his unsolicited effort in helping to promote our message.
Dr C. K. LIN
Hospital Chief Executive
Hong Kong Red Cross Blood