CEBU CITY – The Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), with the Department of Health (DOH-7) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-7), Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the private sector, launched the “Donate Blood! Save Lives! Donation” campaign Wednesday in Mandaue City, the first of a series of donation drive events aimed to aid the growing need for blood supply in Cebu.
OPAV Secretary Michael Dino, in his message during the opening of the first leg of the campaign, said that the rise in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, and the expected surge in dengue cases with the onset of the rainy season have given rise to the need to ensure adequate supply of blood.
“Blood as a precious commodity cannot be disregarded. Our patients continue to require blood, and supply must not run out. That is why we have decided to make this launching as the first of many more mobile blood donation activities in the coming days,” Dino said.
Dino said the blood donation campaign initiative aims to collect blood units with high levels of IgG from recovered COVID-19 patients as support for Convalescent Plasma Therapy for severe and critical cases.
Citing the rise in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, Dino said that the blood donation campaign has become doubly important as the requirement for plasma was also expected to increase.
The team of Dr. Edgar Tan at the Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital has succeeded in treating critically-ill COVID-19 patients using three-step regimen, Total Plasma Exchange, Convalescent Plasma Therapy and Blood Transfusion. “This has been dubbed a ‘miracle in Cebu,” Dino bared.
He also noted that the number of dengue cases was also on the rise, citing figures in January and February of the top three areas in Central Visayas with high dengue cases — Cebu City at 696, Lapu-Lapu City at 568 and Mandaue City at 286.
“The campaign ensures that patients who might be needing blood, especially during this rainy season when dengue cases are expected to surge, can still have access to safe blood, which is an essential life-saving resource,” Dino stated.
Since the start of the pandemic, OPAV has been coming up with initiatives to address the various concerns and needs in the COVID-19 response in the Visayas. These included the provision of free transportation to front liners by deploying Malasakit buses in various area-routes in Cebu City.
OPAV also augmented the testing capacity in the Visayas at the onset of the pandemic by providing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and automated extraction machines, extraction and detection kits, swab kits and other consumables for rapid testing, tracing, treatment of COVID-19 patients in the Visayas regions.
It likewise continued to coordinate with national government agencies and local government units (LGUs) for the setting up of quarantine and isolation facilities to prepare for the repatriation of over 2,000 overseas Filipino workers and locally stranded individuals.