National Blood Drive Strives to Build Costa Rica’s Blood Banks Through Donations

Events, Things to Do, Travel Tips — By Sophia LaMonica on June 15, 2011 at 3:24 am

In Costa Rica, thousands of patients with blood diseases as leukemia, severe forms of anemia or severe problems with blood clotting, blood transfusion-dependent, depend on regular blood donations to live.

As reported by Irene Rodriguez of La Nation, today, June 14th, marks the Day of Voluntary Blood Donations, a nationwide campaign launched by Costa Rica’s national hospitals that are increasingly concerned about not being able to provide proper care, since voluntary blood donations are not sufficient to meet the country’s growing demand. “These are evils that require transfusions in quick succession, but no donors. On Friday I had to go through the halls and asking patients to them talk to family and friends arrived to donate blood because there is not enough, “said Alfonso Durán, a hematologist at the Hospital San Juan de Dios.

According to Duran there are two types of diseases that require constant blood transfusions. One type includes the cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, in which chemotherapy destroys cancer cells in the bone marrow, but also destroys the cells that help blood production.

“A surgery or an accident requires a lot of blood, but only while the person is stabilized. Patients with these diseases need blood every week and, therefore, we must give, “said Juan Carlos Morera, the Hospital Blood Bank of Mexico.

What does it take to donate blood?

Donors must be between 18 and 65 years old, weigh more than 50 kilos (110 pounds) and be in good health.

Having a cold, taking certain medications or being pregnant will prevent an eligible donor from being able to donate temporarily. A person has had a tattoo done in the past 12 months or a male who has had homosexual relations in the last year also will not be able to donate.

The most needed blood type are AB negative and O negative.

A light breakfast is highly recommended before donating.

Expats living in Costa Rica are welcome to donate blood, too, with proof of residency.

Photo: Sophia LaMonica

Tags: Blood, Costa Rica, Costa Rica Blood Drive, San Jose, Travel Tips