Wednesday, July 15, 2015

PRC Mission: Save Lives and Instill Hope by Ernesto T. Solidum

PRC Mission: Save Lives and Instill Hope

“Thank you for Saving my Life” is this year’s theme of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) celebration of World Blood Donors’ Month. Kapihan guests on July 11, 2015 at NVC Carmen Hotel are: Dr. Cynthia C. de la Cruz, PRC Chairman, Blood Services, Mr. Arif Grey G. Ruiz, Project Staff and Ms. Melanie R. Rojo, Service Representative, Blood Bank.

Dr. de la Cruz cited vital heed of blood donation and adequate blood reserve for contingencies that precious lives may be saved. In 2014, Aklan’s total blood units collected was 4, 650. This year, we are targeting 5,500 units corresponding to one percent of the total population of Aklan. The impact of climate change has resulted to catastrophic weather aberration such as typhoons, floods, landslides, storm surges and drought.
“We are optimistic that with the help of municipal mayors and civic organizations, our goal could be met”, said the lady physician. From January to June 2015, we have practically achieved half of our target with 2, 466 units.

Since no one knows the occurrence of disasters or emergencies it is wise to have blood kept in reserved for future personal use or for our love ones. Qualified donors need to register and be examined by a physician. He or she must be in good health, 16-65 years of age, 55 kgms, normal blood pressure, and has no alcohol, fatty foods or medicine intake for the last 24 hours. Regular blood donations could be safely done every three months.

About 350-450 CC blood may be extracted, classified into blood type and hemoglobin content. Disqualified to donate blood are those infected with hepa B or C, syphilis, malaria and HIV. Rigid screenings are done by health authorities to protect integrity and accuracy associated with blood extraction and transfusion.

Ms. Rojo clarified that blood units dispensed by PRC is free. However, processing fee of P1,800 per blood unit is collected to defray cost of chemical reagents. In order to maintain healthy balance of reserved stock, we require interested parties to bring in their walking blood donors, Rojo added.

PRC services to the community include housing, health, education, livelihoods and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. Mr. Ruiz averred that 1, 355 core shelter units were completed and handed over to beneficiaries of victims of super typhoon Yolanda. Another 750 units are in various stages of completion in target municipalities of New Washington, Banga, Madalag, Numancia, Balete and Lezo. Build better is the concept behind core shelter program of PRC. This includes better design and use of indigenous materials as wood, bamboo and concrete hollow blocks. Cost per core shelter is P80, 000.

Partially damaged houses were fully rehabilitated with 6,900 units located in eight (8) municipalities. Recipients received P10, 000 cash plus 10 pcs. GI corrugate sheets.

New Washington is the lone municipality where its school building in the Poblacion was completely rehabilitated. School supplies such as notebooks, pencils, and pad paper were provided to pupils.

Some 11 units of barangay health centers will be constructed in Madalag, Balete, and New Washington.This would enable people from remote areas to avail of medical services.

PRC has an on-going program called Red Cross 143 where volunteers at barangay level undergo basic training on first aid, and disaster risk reduction/preparedness. These capability training program provide timely manpower support to reduce casualties.

Ms. Rojo said that although Aklan SP has passed a resolution to establish and operate a Blood Bank at DRSTMH, the plan has not materialized because of budgetary constraint. Machine separator to process blood into plasma, platelets, and others cost millions of pesos and nine (9) medical technologists will be needed.

While PRC is far ahead of other aid agencies in responding to the needs of victims of typhoon Yolanda particularly in its core shelter program, it makes people think that there is partiality or discrimination in selecting beneficiaries. This is false.

Per advice of international donor countries, PRC will terminate its core shelter program either August or September. It has been almost two years since Yolanda struck and the whole Filipino nation gratefully acknowledged international humanitarian assistance and support. /MP

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