About 1,000 youths from 14 provinces volunteered to donate their blood to the Ministry of Health Sunday as part of the Leadership Character Development Institute’s second youth camp.
Unfortunately, Dr Ko Sary, the official in charge of the ministry’s Blood Transfusion Center, said the center’s six doctors would probably be able to accept only 300 donations over the course of the day.
“Our doctors, who are specialists in blood transfusion, are only six in number, so we don’t have the ability to take blood donations from all the students,” Ko Sary said. “We can take blood from the students from morning till evening, but we have only one day to do it.”
The 10-day camp, which ended Sunday, was for school dropouts 17 and older, especially girls, the NGO said. It featured issue workshops, outdoor activities, volunteer work, field trips and social activities, all aimed at preparing the youths for productive adult lives. This year, program goals included teaching the youths to vote intelligently in the commune council elections.
More than 70 percent of the camp’s participants are eligible voters. The youths were pre-screened by the ministry’s Blood Transfusion Center, and those who had fever, typhoid, malaria, stomach aches or were menstruating were eliminated, Ko Sary said.
Each student who donated 300 cubic centimeters of blood received a hearty meal, plus a package of Chinese noodles, a Khmer-English dictionary, a T-shirt and a free medical check-up, Ko Sary said.
Ko Sary said the Blood Transfusion Center’s blood bank suffers from chronic shortages. Just 3 percent of the transfusions performed by the center come from volunteers who go there to donate blood.