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A GRIP IT response for blood donations

After GRIP IT’s first blood donation drive went succesfully at Wat Sawang Arom in Rawai in November, the charitable organisation team based in Phuket decided to continue working together with the Phuket Regional Blood Centre (PRBC) and nine Rotary Clubs across Phuket to provide more critically needed blood to the people in need.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 19 February 2023, 11:00AM

A GRIP IT team member supports a blood donor at the blood donation drive at Wat Sawang Arom in Rawai. Photo: Tonia Olsen / GRIP IT

A GRIP IT team member supports a blood donor at the blood donation drive at Wat Sawang Arom in Rawai. Photo: Tonia Olsen / GRIP IT

GRIP IT’s blood drive project started with the team receiving the information about the high demand of blood for patients in hospitals all over the south of Thailand and the lack of blood supply.

In order to help encourage more people to become a blood donor, GRIP IT together with Rotary Clubs in Phuket helped to spread the word about the blood donation drive, and donate five kilogrammes rice to every peron who donated blood at the station. “Our goal is to draw more attention to this issue and help PRBC save lives,” said Nurama ‘Khun Ji’ Taleh, the head of GRIP IT team.

At the latest blood donation drive on Feb 7, the GRIP IT team had the chance to talk with the chief of PRBC, Pornthip Rattajak, who has been working there tirelessly for over 10 years, and learned that the centre is constantly in need of blood, especially since the start of COVID-19 pandemic.

“The center needs to reach the goal of collecting at least 3,000 units of healthy blood per month to meet the demand at the public and private hospitals that we are responsible for, which are in the six Andaman Sea provinces – Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun… but it is not easy,” said Ms Rattajak.

She shared that most of the donors are in working age and frequent donors who donate every three months and that the centre also works with local schools to educate the younger population and encourage them to donate their blood as well.

However, the blood types that are the most needed are the special blood types (Rh-negative), which are incredibly rare among Thai people and Asians in general.

“Because we provide blood for the region that is very popular among tourists, we always need all special blood types which are more common among foreigners. It is very important that we encourage those with the rare blood types to donate regularly. Currently, we are in need of A blood type as well,” added Ms Rattajak.

After the long serious tone of the conversation, the team asked Ms Rattajak about what she loved most about working there. “I love everything about it. I love seeing the kindness of the people who come in to donate their blood and knowing that what we do saves lives,” said Ms Rattajak.

GRIP IT uses the opportunity to also donate secondhand clothes at the same location where blood donation drives are being held, in the hope that it would draw more attention to the blood drive.

“We put our donation boxes in different shops and restaurants all over Phuket to make it easier for people to donate stuff that is still in good condition. Among other things, we received a lot of good quality secondhand clothes that are ready for new owners. We would like to thank you all the donors and the business owners who were so kind and lent us the space for our donation boxes,” said Khun Ji.

The blood donation organised by GRIP IT will be held every three months at Wat Sawang Arom in Rawai. However, PRBC is open and goes into different areas of Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi every working day from Monday to Friday. If you are interested in donating your blood, do not hesitate to walk in or contact them at +66 76 211766 to find out the blood drive station closest to you.

 – Nannapat Suwanpitak

Contact GRIP IT if you want to join their next blood drive or need advice on how to help your community at, +66 993 600840 (Khun Ji) or Instagram @gripit_forward

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