Make fee minimal
This is a comment on the letter of Gwendolyn Pang of the Philippine Red Cross (Inquirer, 7/30/12) about the “administrative fee” to recover some costs in the handling of donated blood for transfusion.
My reaction is that if such a fee were needed to recover any costs, it should be minimal and not regressive, i.e., like a flat tax that hits the most those who can least afford. And P1,500 per bag is not, in my humble opinion, minimal; P100 may be.
My suggestion is that when families are going through so much stress and anguish over a loved one’s urgent need for blood, there is the double imposition of, firstly, chasing up donor cards, then secondly, coming up with the money that has to be paid before the blood can be given to the patient. Why not simplify the procedure and waive it all in order to address the urgency of the situation, and only attend to it after the transfusion—not before, in order to avoid any appearance of extortionate money-grubbing? Why not have consolidated revenue absorb any cost, then ask for voluntary contribution based on means?
Also, on the issue of victims of crime and accidents, of whom there are many thousands in the Philippines, are they being quickly and compassionately addressed as well, or victimized twice over?
Pang mentions “other blood bank operators.” I had no idea that the Red Cross had competitors here. In Australia, people wanting to ensure they have adequate and safe blood supplies ahead of an operation can make “autologous” donations with private firms—at a cost.
I share Pang’s concern about the need to educate the public to respond more generously to Red Cross’ appeals for money to cover costs, but the best way of helping is to drop in at any Red Cross center and volunteer a donation. The Red Cross, along with organizations such as Medecins sans Frontiers, is renowned for its selfless dedication and altruistic motivation, and the best way of supporting such groups, besides financially, is to donate blood. It literally saves lives. Please consider, and act.
—WALTER P. KOMARNICKI,
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