Ministry of Health withdraws mandatory blood donation in draft law

The Ministry of Health yesterday announced to withdraw mandatory blood donation in the Draft Law on Blood and Sterm Cells after the public have raised concern over the issue since the draft was sent to the Ministry of Justice for appraisement.

Yet after hearing controversial debates, in its dispatch on January 9, the Ministry of Health decided blood donation is voluntary.

In the Initial Draft Law on Blood and Stem Cell, the Ministry of Health proposed all healthy Vietnamese citizens aged between 18 and 60 years old, have to make a blood donation at least once every year.

The draft has stirred the public concerns whether blood donation is mandatory or voluntary.

The draft was introduced because there is a serious shortage of blood for treatment.

As per the World Health Organization, to ensure the supplies of blood and blood products for treatment, at least 20 percent of a nation’s population agrees to donate their blood annually. With its population of 90 million, Vietnam needs 1.8 million blood units while as per the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT)’s latest, in 2016, the country collected over 1.2 million blood units, equivalent to 1.52 percent of the population. The ratio is still lower than the two percent rate recommended by the World Health Organization.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Health proposed two ways. In one way, a Vietnamese must donate his blood once a year except some people can not give their blood. With this way, the Ministry calculated that 46 million people would donate blood. In the other way one must be voluntary in blood donation at least once within five years.

Governments in the world issued blood donation law and voluntary blood donation-related regulations which ensure to have enough blood for treatment.

Blood donation is a humanitarian deed as healthy people share with ill people. To ensure the supplies of blood for treatment, it needs to increase information to people and encourage people to give their blood by showing the humanitarian meaning of the deed.

However, it needs to ensure that the blood and blood products are sufficient and free from HIV, hepatitis viruses and other infections that can transmit through transfusion.

Additionally there should have deserved remuneration and blood donors are honored for their noble deed.

By Khanh Nguyen – translated by Uyen Phuong

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