Provincial health officer Dr. Mary Ann Navarro has urged local government units to reactivate their respective municipal blood councils, noting that many of these local special bodies have become inactive.
Navarro made the proposal during discussions on Tuesday at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan concerning the fees being collected by the Philippine Red Cross for blood donations.
Navarro noted that while municipal blood councils are existing in all municipalities of Palawan except Kalayaan, most of these bodies are “not functional”.
“Lahat ng mga munisipyo mayroong municipal blood council. Ang problema lang ay kung functional ba ang mga ito. Halos lahat mayroon maliban sa Kalayaan, pero medyo hindi na masyadong nagme-meeting,” Navarro said.
Board Member Ryan Maminta supported Navarro’s proposal and urged municipalities to coordinate with the Provincial Health Office for the immediate reactivation of their blood council to help address issues concerning blood donations.
“Para ‘yong problema natin pagdating sa donasyon ng blood at iba pang mga pangangailangan ay maresolba natin,” Maminta said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross explained to provincial officials that the fees they are collecting for blood donations are mandated by the Department of Health, and is intended to ensure that the blood being donated are tested and safe.
PRC Palawan representative Agnes Beronio said that the processing fee is necessary for them to be able to conduct safety tests.
“Ito ‘yong usual question: nag-donate na ng dugo, bakit magbabayad pa? Mayroon tayong blood processing fee na regulated ng DOH. Ito ay para sa tests na katulad ng Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, Syphilis, Malaria, at ‘yong blood bag na ginamit. Kasama na doon ang storage,” Beronio said.
She said while paid blood donations, wherein a patient or patient’s relatives sometimes pay a person to donate their blood when supply is low are not encouraged, the processing fee cannot be waived.
“Hindi natin ine-encourage ang paid donors. Ang pino-promote ni PRC at ng DOH ay voluntary donation. Pero kung continuous ang bloodletting, at may staff na kami sa mga ospital, hindi na kailangang umasa sa paid donors,” Beronio said.