TO DISCOURAGE “blood pimping and prostitution” in the University of Santo Tomas Hospital (USTH), the UST Blood Bank has embarked on weekly blood drives starting with junior medical students last June 25.

According to Dr. Manuel Barnes, the blood bank director, regular voluntary blood donation from the University’s 30,000 students can adequately supply the bank’s needed 600 blood bags per month.

“If more Thomasians are motivated (to donate blood), we can eliminate paid ‘donors’,” he explained.

With “Dugong Tomasino,” Barnes added there would be a lesser risk for patients to acquire tainted blood.

He explained professional blood “donors” usually lie about their medical history. Some donors even act through “pimps,” he said.

“We try to disqualify these ‘donors’ as much as we can, but the bank sometimes unintentionally accepts them because they passed the required tests,” Barnes said.

He added the “donors” get away with it because patients are desperately in need of blood.

A USTH employee, who requested anonymity, said the hospital staff is reluctant to report the professional donors and their pimps due to fear of reprisals.

“Dugong Tomasino” was launched last year, pursuant to Republic Act No. 7719 or the National Blood Services Act of 1994 to promote voluntary blood donations and stop the commercialization of blood letting. Reagan D. Tan

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