According to a recent article in Global Times, Beijing may soon experience blood bank shortages due to authorities scrapping a controversial donation system last month, which had been around since the late nineties. On paper, this system once allowed friends and families of patients to donate blood, but was frequently used by illegal agents to supply the black market.
The way the system worked is that if a patient needed blood, his family would submit a blood donation form and then donate blood in designated centers. Afterward, they would submit a donation certificate to the hospital in question, which would then distribute the blood to said patient. However, according to Beijing News, there were inadequate ways to evaluate the actual relationships between donors and patients, which created numerous loopholes. And where there are loopholes, there are those who take advantage.
Illegal agents would create businesses out of buying blood from fake family members, sometimes using unsafe methods or poor storage systems, jeopardizing blood safety. Also, they often targeted poor, vulnerable people who sold unhealthy amounts of their blood for cash. Agents would make a large profit, selling 400 milliliters of blood for RMB 2000 or more.
With this old system scrapped, many black market blood sellers are thankfully out of a job, but unfortunately, there is a lot more blood needed and dwindling supplies in Chinese blood banks.
Currently, to alleviate this problem, the government is looking to launch even more blood donation trucks outside of colleges and office buildings. The Beijing Red Cross Blood Center has also announced programs to gather donations from nearby Hebei and Shanxi provinces to meet the demands of our megacity. Hopefully these, along with other billboard and advertising campaigns that pull on citizens’ heartstrings, will allow for more and more friendly donations to prevent a city-wide crisis.
Here’s how you can help. If you are between the ages of 18 to 55, have not donated blood within the last six months, and weigh over 55 kg (male) and 45 kg (female), you’re able to donate. If your blood type is O or A, you’re particularly in demand as these types are urgently needed. When you come in to donate, don’t forget to bring your passport or national ID if you are a Chinese citizen.
Here are two venues where you can donate:
Oasis International Hospital
9am – 11:30am
Beijing United Family Hospital
Building 2, 3F
March 9, June 14, and December 14
10am – 3pm