According to China Daily, the latest statistics for July 2012 show that only 1% of China’s population donate blood. The World Health Organization (WHO) has pegged 1% of the population as the minimum requirement for this country to have enough blood supply. However, expressed in whole numbers, 1% is equivalent to just 118 million volunteer donors to sustain blood supply for the 1,344,130,000 citizens in China.
The Chinese government implemented their first blood donation law in 1998- when the age range for blood donors is from 18 to 55 years old. The same law has gone through changes since then- the most important change would be the the age limit to 60 years old. Though donations increased .87% since the age limit update, the Chinese government will still have to think of a better program to get a younger set of donors. The donor increase due to age limit is not significant to promise a stable blood supply in the future.
No Paid Donation
Blood donors aren’t paid in China, they are given treatment benefits instead. In Hunan province, a blood donor who donated 2 pints of blood (900 ml) receives three-times the volume when needed (benefit includes the donor’s immediate family). Donors who give below 1 1/2 pint (600 ml) will receive twice the amount.
There’s a down-side to this benefit program though. If hospitalized, the donor can’t claim their blood benefit for free. The benefit of having stocked blood for free is useless when the donor has to claim the units of blood needed at the particular center they donated in. The process would seem pointless since no one knows they would need blood unless hospitalized.
China Blood Needs Increase Each Year
China needs 4,000 tons of blood every day; in three years time, the demand for blood products goes up. When this happens, the country needs 120,000 volunteer donors.
Provinces around China would have to increase their donor list to prepare for this.
Chinese battle against the dreaded disease started when the virus was found in 1984. The ban on import of blood products was the first preventive step the country took when a teenage hemopheliac died because of infected blood. Despite the import ban, HIV/AIDS still spread and went out of control in 1989. This was the year that the viral outbreak started with needle sharing by drug users.
China had banned homosexual donors since the first case of HIV emerged. The government had decided to ban homosexuals from donating blood to keep transfusions safe.
Just this year, the 14-year old ban on lesbian donors was lifted. For the years the ban was in place, officials were convinced that banning all homosexuals will stop the spread of AIDS.
Ideas and views on this issue have changed and lesbians are considered low risk groups for contracting AIDS. Though the lesbian community has scored a success, they still long for all homosexuals to be allowed to donate blood and save a life.
Last March, China was at the brink of blood shortage. The contrast between the donor ratio to population is seen as the culprit here. The countries answer to the emergency was to get as many citizens eligible for donation. Since they have lifted the ban on lesbians, blood supplies will have to make a significant increase- or else.