To deal with a blood shortage during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, a blood donation campaign has been launched in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Due to social distancing requirements to curb the spread of the virus, it is rather difficult to mobilize blood donors in person, prompting volunteers to resort to various social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to reach givers.
There have been many messages shared on social media these days, driving potential volunteers to give blood.
Many blood givers have been willing to give blood to save lives during the pandemic.
They are aware of the serious shortages facing many blood banks in Vietnam during such a challenging time.
'I donate as soon as I can'
One day in July, Thanh Hoa, a 23-year-old student of the Da Nang University of Education, queued up waiting for her turn to donate blood at Da Nang Hospital.
Hoa has donated blood 14 times to date, but this time seems to be more special.
“For the first time, I could not donate blood immediately as I was put under medical isolation,” said Hoa, who is a veteran volunteer in blood donation.
“I counted the days until I could give blood."
Hoa has just returned from a one-month volunteering program in an isolation center for direct contacts of COVID-19 patients.
She has also finished a 21-day self-isolation period.
Hoa told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that she could not help waiting for blood donation when knowing of a dearth in many blood banks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For nearly four years studying at the university, blood donation has become a usual part of the young woman’s student life. She has donated blood every three months in recent years.
“When there is a call for blood donation, I will show up right away if I am eligible,” said the student.
Like Hoa, Nguyen Tan Long, a 27-year-old worker from Hoa Cam Industrial Park in Da Nang, told Tuoi Tre he had donated blood to a serious cancer patient at Da Nang Oncology Hospital around three weeks ago.
“It is said that one should only have another blood donation at least one month after a platelet donation," explained Long.
"But I know that I am doing well now so I registered for this as soon as I knew about the call from the hospital."
In Long’s opinion, the hospital follows the highest standards on safety and infection control to collect blood during the COVID-19 pandemic, which made him feel comfortable.
Apart from the youth, many enterprises and hotels that are temporarily shut down because of the coronavirus have called on their employees to donate blood.
Several medical workers have also taken part in blood donation after their work.
It is the young who partook in the blood donation program that took a picture together to share on social media in the hope of spreading the meaningful message, 'Donate blood, don't fear the virus.'
An urgent need for healthy donors
According to Ha Quoc Han, vice-coordinator of a voluntary team tasked with collecting blood for a donation drive, there are a few reasons for a temporary shortage of donated blood supplies now.
“Now it is summer, so there are a vast number of students who have left for their hometown," Han expounded.
"Some districts in Da Nang have been put under the social distancing rules of the prime minister's Directive No. 16, which prevents them from donating blood.
"On top of that, a few people are reluctant to donate blood during this health crisis.”
Han said the blood donation procedures have been refined to ensure a safe environment for donors and medical staff.
Donors register online beforehand via the hospital’s hotline or through a voluntary team.
They will be divided into small groups that would come in different time frames to meet the social distancing guidelines.
When coming to the blood donation center, givers will be guided directly by the staff, who will show them how to adopt safety procedures like filling out medical information forms on their smartphones, having their body temperature measured, sterilization, and keeping a proper distance.
At the blood donation center, not only doctors but also blood donors would be provided with personal protective suits.
Blood givers will be supplied with medical face masks and face shields to stay safe during the entire process.