As the citywide lockdown caused blood shortages in Hà Nội’s hospitals, many foreigners in the city donated blood during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Wayne Worrel, an English teacher living in Hà Nội, decided to appeal to the expatriate community to donate after hearing that blood banks in hospitals in the city were running short.
"I know many of us are scared, especially with the ever changing situation in Việt Nam but this is the time that we need to be strong again and unite together to save lives. The National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion needs your blood," wrote Worrel on Facebook.
Worrel also gave the working hours and direction of blood donation points. His instructions inspired many foreigners to donate.
"I love Việt Nam and want to connect the expatriate community here with the people in the country so that they can come closer together and unite in this difficult time," he said.
Another expatriate, Christopher Axe, decided to donate his blood at a medical facility in Hoàn Kiếm District.
"I donate blood every 3 months in Việt Nam and feel completely fine," he said.
Axe has also invited many of his friends to donate blood through events on Facebook and through his widely respected charity 'Help Hanoi’s Homeless.'
He said information about blood donation points, the blood donation programme and blood donors was regularly posted in English so that foreigners could understand and learn more.
"It feels good to know your blood has been used to save others. With blood stocks in Hà Nội so low right now, giving blood is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help prevent unnecessary deaths," Axe said.
Việt Nam needs you
Ngọc Châm, admin of 'Foreign blood donors community in Vietnam', a group under the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion told Việt Nam News of the need for foreign blood donors.
"The percentage of Vietnamese people with rare blood type RhD negative is very low, only about 0.04 – 0.07 per cent, while the rate of foreigners with this blood type is very high, about 15 – 40 per cent. Therefore, the fact that foreigners donate their blood is very meaningful in replenishing the amount of rare blood in Việt Nam."
Recently, Châm and her colleagues organized an event called 'Vietnam needs you – Blood donors' with the aim of connecting expats in Việt Nam to share and ask questions about donating blood in Việt Nam.
"We have a hotline, Zalo accounts, Facebook groups and a team of volunteers willing to share knowledge about blood donation in Việt Nam in English. I hope many foreigners will participate in this noble act," she said.
According to WHO recommendations, each country needs at least 2 per cent of its population to donate blood in order to secure the blood supply for emergency work and patient treatment. With a population of almost 100 million people, Việt Nam requires at least 2 million blood units per year.
However, Việt Nam has recently only met roughly 70 per cent of its emergency and treatment blood needs. The reserve of blood is at an "alarming” level due to limited blood donation activities amid the coronavirus.
Many blood donation programmes have been cancelled, and many communities are unable to organize blood donation for an extended period of time.
For everyone, whether healthy or sick, blood is life. For patients, each unit of blood is precious not only as a symbol of help from the community, but as a source of life, an opportunity to be revived and to continue living.
During the pandemic, sharing blood is more valuable than ever, and many patients have benefited from the kind effort of donors.
A representative of the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion said that hundreds of foreigners had donated blood in Hà Nội and the number was growing.
If people need further information on blood donation, contact the institute's Blood Donor Call Centre (8am – 5pm daily) on 0976 99 00 66.
Blood donors are required to bring their passports and make health declarations via the Bluezone application before they arrive at blood donation stations. VNS
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