CAVITE, PHILIPPINES – With the on-going blood shortages in various parts of the country, the call for voluntary blood donations arises to meet the nation’s increasing demand for blood during the pandemic.
In response to the growing need for blood reserves, “Life-ON: Life Sharing Blood Donation Campaign” was launched last May 17, 2022 in Silang, Cavite through the partnership of the Philippine Red Cross Cavite Chapter and the New Heaven New Earth (Shincheonji) Church of Jesus. The first wave of donations participated by 79 congregation members accumulated a total of 29,250cc of blood (65 bags of blood) which can save up to 195 lives.
“Long before the pandemic, the shortage or scarcity of the supplies of blood has been a problem in the Philippines, especially in Cavite. It is a very challenging situation on our part, in the bloodletting team. What’s harder was when the pandemic hit. The supplies of blood are very limited but the demands are very large,” Dr. Glenn Ardonio, Blood Service Physician of the Philippine Red Cross Cavite Chapter said in an interview.
According to the Director of the National Health Services, Dr. Christie Monina Nalupta, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) was able to collect at least 500,000 units of blood, and with other organizations, the total collection was around 800,000 all over the country in 2019. Despite the great number, it was insufficient as the annual target of the PRC is at least one million blood donations to reach the minimum blood donation set by the World Health Organization which is 1% of the population.
The National Blood Services is the Philippine Red Cross’ arm that delivers adequate, safe and quality blood supply to the most vulnerable. Through its 88 blood service facilities nationwide, the PRC has been the leading provider of blood and blood products in the country, continuously promoting voluntary non-remunerated blood donation to attain adequacy.
The Understudy to the Chapter Administrator and Donor Recruitment Officer of the Philippine Red Cross Cavite Chapter, Mr. Rowell Jarin, said in an interview that the mobile blood donations regularly held in the churches, schools and other organizations ceased in 2020 and 2021 due to the restrictions. Bloodletting activities were only held at blood services facilities of the Philippine Red Cross. With less mobility, blood banks faced shortages and patients were left with no choice but to find individual donors for blood transfusions.
In 2022, mobile blood donation activities are gradually being held again because of the high vaccination rate in the country, following safety protocols, according to Mr. Jarin.
He adds, “I want to thank the New Heaven New Earth Church of Jesus for this activity. It is because through your organization [that] we were able to widen the coverage of the participants and prospective blood donors. Blood donation is an act of altruism so we are really expecting individuals to donate blood because blood cannot be manufactured… Donating blood is something that should be innate to us as humans because this is our service to our fellowmen and of course, to our God.”
One of the first time donors, Ericka Gonzales expressed, “I feel so blessed to be a part of this campaign and I feel so thankful to be able to donate my blood.” She then encouraged the people by saying, “If you can meet the requirements to donate your blood, take the chance to share the life that you have because every drop of blood can save a life”.
The Instructor in-charge of New Heaven New Earth Philippines, Harold Recio, shared in an interview that the church drew inspiration from the massive blood donation drive held by its headquarter church in South Korea, wherein over 18,000 congregation members took part a few weeks ago to resolve the national blood shortage.
He said, “In the Bible, blood symbolizes life. Through sharing our blood, we want to share lives with those in need. We hope that this campaign would reach the hearts of every Filipino and create a wave of helping and caring for one another, especially during this challenging time. We are looking forward to the continued cooperation with the Red Cross so that we can help more people.”
As a result of the positive reception by the participants, New Heaven New Earth Philippines signified its desire to continue the campaign, not only for its church members but for anyone, regardless of religious affiliation, who is willing to participate in such a purposeful humanitarian cause during this challenging time.
For updates on the next donation drive, please visit www.facebook.com/NHNE.PH.