How Hong Kong can beat chronic blood shortage and create a more humane society: start with the kids
- Students 16 and older should be encouraged to participate in blood donation drives and parents should bring kids with them to donor centres
I am writing in response to the letters from Ocean Wong (December 8) and Eunice Li (December 25), on how more Hongkongers need to realise that blood donation is safe, and they must step up to help ease the pressure on public hospitals and potentially save lives.
We often read about the Red Cross’ Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) flagging a shortfall in blood supplies and it even has to issue urgent appeals for donors from time to time. An ageing population is one of the reasons for blood inventories remaining low, according to the government. Misconceptions about blood donation also often deter people from volunteering, including fears about contaminated needles. Moreover, many willing donors have to be ruled out for health reasons, such as having low haemoglobin levels.
To deal with the problem of low blood donation rates, the government should encourage all secondary schools and students aged 16 or above to participate in the BTS donation drives. It should also do more to promote donation and eliminate related misconceptions.
In addition, parents should be encouraged to bring their children to BTS centres, as a way to teach them to be more responsible and empathetic members of society.
Low blood donation rates and shortages have been a chronic problem for Hong Kong. BTS has said it needs 1,100 donors to visit its centres daily to maintain adequate blood supplies. We should all act together to change the old mindset and create a better society.
Joyce Tsang, Tseung Kwan O