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New lures for blood donors in Shanghai
Updated: 2005-02-18 09:40

Shanghai is trying out two new incentives to address its chronic blood shortage: free medical exams and accident insurance for donors.

Volunteers form Liaocheng University at Shandong Province's Liaocheng donate blood. [newsphoto]

When the plans are fully implemented, Shanghai would become the first city in the nation to offer these innovations.

The moves come even as some hopeful signs are on the horizon for the local blood bank. According to the Shanghai Blood Administration Office, 1,406 people gave 340 liters of blood during the weeklong Spring Festival holiday, a 30 percent increase over the same period last year.

Officials said more locals are marking the holiday by giving blood.

The problem, however, is that the festival period is a slow time for blood donations overall, and despite the higher numbers this year, the city's reserves are getting low.

"Since most enterprises and universities don't organize donations by their staffs and students during the Spring Festival, the present storage is approaching the 600-liter alarm point," said Song Qi, a spokesman for the blood administration.

"Moreover, clinical demand for blood is due to rise sharply, as many patients will undergo surgeries after the festival."

Song said local hospitals use some 180 to 220 liters of blood a day, raising the need for more incentives for donors.

"We are talking with Shanghai No. 6 People's Hospital to give free health examinations for regular donors starting late next month. The requirements for donation amounts are still under discussion," Song said. "For instance, people donating 8 liters may enjoy an annual check, while those giving 1 liter may receive only a single exam."

In the other effort, blood collection centers in Minhang and Jiading districts are giving every donor a one-year, 7,000-yuan (US$843) policy covering accidental injuries. Minhang launched the program in June, while Jiading began last month. City officials said they may introduce the incentives to other districts if they prove effective in those areas.

"Through December, 4,681 donors received the insurance, and everyone said they were encouraged to give a second donation," said Yang Haiyan, vice director of the Minhang District Blood Administration Office.

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