On August 26, that tiny, quiet corner in Visayas Avenue was turned into a hotspot of sort for government employees from different agencies in Metro Manila. That day, the headquarters of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) was indeed the most happening place in the Diliman area as civil servants from NCR flocked the PIA lobby with one intent in mind: to donate blood.
The ocassion for the blood letting was to respond to the growing need for blood of dengue victims.
Dengue is known to be endemic in a tropical country like the Philippines. World Health Organization officials warned about climate change and how it is increasing the incidence of dengue fever and other infectious diseases in the country. And this year, dengue has made its presence strongly felt especially in the National Capital Region (NCR) where the number of cases has nearly doubled, according to the Department of Health - from 5,416 cases to 10,487 recorded cases during the first seven months of 2011.
The increase is overwhelming especially since the bulk of the cases came from low-income residents, putting a strain on public health facilities and forcing hospitals to make use of available spaces like hallways and covered courts to accommodate patients.
The growing number of dengue cases saw a growing demand for other commodities, and aside from facilities, hospitals saw a high demand for blood supply for those who will undergo blood transfusion. At the forefront of all this activity was the Philippine Red Cross — the institution in the forefront in providing humanitarian services-- blood donations included-- called for more blood donors.
In response to the call and to the dengue inflation itself, the Philippine Information Agency collaborated with the Department of Health and the Philippine Red Cross-Quezon City in conducting a mass blood donation drive last August 26 at the PIA central office.
The bloodletting activity entitled “Dugong Alay, Dugtong Buhay” is a means of addressing the dwindling supply of blood which much sought after not only by dengue patients but by those with other serious illnesses.
The whole-day bloodletting activity registered a total of 60 blood donors, mostly civil servants coming from different agencies such as the PIA, MMDA, AFP, PNP, NBN-4, and PBS.
Meanwhile, Department of Health Secretary Enrique Ona, in a forum held at the PIA Conference Room last week, called for the cooperation of everyone in the community in the war against dengue.
He urged families, barangay leaders, school officials, and teachers to spearhead and sustain community clean-up activities in their respective surroundings. He also reminded the public to immediately seek medical help in case they have the symptoms of dengue which include high fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and skin rashes.