Cities in China are facing a severe seasonal blood shortage, as the majority of donors are going hometowns to celebrate the lunar new year.
In Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the city blood center received only 300 donors on a daily basis in the winter months, while on average 400 to 500 blood donors are needed to meet hospital demand.
Nanning is an example of a broader picture in the country, said Huang Liumei, head of the blood transfusion service of the Guangxi women and children's hospital, citing that many big cities, where high-quality medical resources converge, are in dire need of blood.
"During the Spring Festival, students, who make up the majority of blood donors, have mostly gone hometowns, putting pressure on blood donation centers in big cities," Huang said.
Cities in Guangdong, Yunnan, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces all reported blood shortages during the winter, official statistics showed.
Jiang Wen, deputy director of the blood donation office of a Nanning blood center, said the bitter cold was another factor that kept people from going to blood donation centers or donation buses.
At least 1 to 3 percent of a country's population should donate blood in order to meet basic medical demand, the World Health Organization advises. However, less than 1 percent of China's population donate, the Ministry of Health said.
Health professionals suggested to improve transparency by inviting the public to visit blood stations on a regular basis to help the public understand the donation process.
Jiang said health departments should extend the promotion of blood donation to the vast rural areas to ease the current shortages.