Mon, 01 Aug 1994

Red Cross swears its blood clinics hygienic

JAKARTA (JP): The Jakarta Chapter of the Indonesian Red Cross has assured donors, who have recently questioned hygienic conditions at its blood transfusion units, that it only uses disposable hypodermic syringes.

"For years we have used only disposable needles, sterilized blood lancets and pipettes to avoid any contamination," head of the blood transfusion unit, Sukantini, told The Jakarta Post on the weekend.

Sukantini was commenting on doubts raised by several expatriates living in the city who serve as potential donors for rare negative blood types about the hygienic conditions at the Red Cross's blood transfusion unit.

The Jakarta Chapter of the Red Cross is having difficulty meeting the increased demand for negative blood types due to a lack of donors. There is only 0.02 percent of the Indonesian population with a negative blood type, while that of Caucasians reaches 15 percent.

In order to meet the escalating demand, Sukantini urged expatriates living in Jakarta to donate their blood.

Responding to the appeal, several expats told the Post that they were actually willing to donate blood, but queried the hygienic standards at the Red Cross.

"I see no reason for the public to question our hygiene standard," Sukantini reaffirmed, underlining that all the medical transfusion assistants working at her office were also fully aware of the importance of hygiene.

According to Sukantini, her division allocates no less than 45 percent of its annual budget to maintain the blood transfusion equipment.

"Moreover, we also carefully select all the blood we receive through a series of tests. And we give only good, healthy blood to the recipients," Sukantini explained, adding that all foreign physicians and visitors who had visited her office were impressed with the facilities and hygiene.

"If we are careless about this kind of thing, why are there a group of expatriates willing to donate their blood here?" she asked, referring to the establishment of the Expatriate Emergency Blood Donor Committee (EEBDC) which functions as a regular, dependable donor for the particularly rare blood types.

In order to eliminate doubt, especially from potential blood donors of rare blood types, Sukantini said that they could visit her transfusion unit themselves during weekday office hours.

The Jakarta Chapter of the Red Cross is located at Jl. Kramat Raya 47, Central Jakarta or telephone 3906666, 327711 or 3909259. (als)