Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) on Wednesday organized a donation camp in the federal capital to help address serious shortage of blood amid depleted donations due to coronavirus pandemic. National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri was chief guest on the occasion. PRCS Chairman Abrar ul Haq and other senior officials were also present at the camp which was organized in F-7 Markaz. Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri said thousands of people have lost lives to Covid-19 across country, however even more lives are at risk due to blood shortage, especially of those who are suffering from leukemia, thalassemia, hemophilia, anemia or those undergoing critical surgeries or injured in road accidents. He welcomed the PRCS initiative of setting up blood camps which he said was also in line with the government’s agenda of ensuring provision of safe blood to every patient as well as those injured in road accidents. He urged all segments of the society to wholeheartedly help the PRCS in this humanitarian cause. Speaking on the occasion, PRCS Chairman Abrar ul Haq said Pakistan has an additional requirement of blood supply because of a high number of thalassemia patients, adding that the challenge has magnified due to lack of blood donors amid Covid-19 pandemic. “Estimates suggest that only 28 out of 10,000 people donate blood in Pakistan. Out of these, only 11 percent of donations are by people who don’t have a friend or family in immediate need,” he said. “It is estimated that every five minutes, someone is killed or badly injured in a road accident in Pakistan out of which many lose their lives for want of timely supply of blood,” he lamented. “According to a Pakistan Thalassemia Centre report, Pakistan has approximately 100,000 patients suffering from the genetic blood disorder. Among other diseases, an estimated 5,000 children with beta thalassemia are born per year,” he added. Abrar ul Haq said educational institutions and industrial units have been the major source of blood collection and their closure in days of pandemic has severely impacted the blood donations. However, since all schools, universities and other institutions have now reopened, it is time for an urgent intervention to ensure an uninterrupted supply of blood for those whose life depends on regular blood transfusions, he added. He said the majority of blood donors fears that they might contract coronavirus during the blood transfusion process, calling for a robust awareness campaign to ward off people’s concerns in this regard. He said the PRCS has always been in the frontlines for arranging and donating blood and its components for the deserving patients. He said PRCS volunteers are working selflessly round the clock to ensure availability of blood for the patients and also contributing in the blood campaign through their own donations. He said the Regional Blood Donation Centre of the PRCS has also been working overtime since the outbreak of Covid-19 to cater to the need of thalassemia, hemophilia, cancer, and dialysis patients. A number of citizens donated blood at the camp.