Updated: March 10, 2021 05:01 AM GMT
Members of the Rotary Club of Macau at the press conference launching the blood donation campaign for 2021. (Photo: Rotary Club of Macau)
The Rotary Movement of Macau, consisting of eight clubs, has joined hands with the Blood Transfusion Center and Catholic Social Services in the Chinese-ruled city to launch a public campaign for blood collection amid growing concerns over the drop in donors of the rare blood type Rh- (Rh negative) in the territory.
The Rh- blood type is common among Caucasian populations, but Macau has seen the number of blood donors dwindle over the years due to a decline in the number of Westerners in the former Portuguese colony.
The Rotary Movement of Macau will carry out a blood donation campaign from March 14 to mid-April, Joao Francisco Pinto, a Catholic of Portuguese descent and president of the Rotary Club of Macau, said during a press conference.
Since 2001, in collaboration with Catholic groups, the organization has been running campaigns to make people aware of the importance of blood donation as a way of saving lives. Last year the campaign was shelved due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Pinto said this year’s campaign has a concrete aim to convince Rh- blood donors to join the drive.
“There is an appeal on the part of the eight clubs that, in fact, there is a mobilization of possible donors to actively participate and to donate this type of blood, since it is particularly scarce among Asian populations," Pinto told O’Clarim, the Portuguese-language mouthpiece of Macau Diocese.
“Giving blood means giving life,” he said.
According to data from the Blood Transfusion Center of Macau, the number of Caucasian blood donors dropped from 135 to 108 during 2020 and only 25 of them were Rh negative.
Macau, a casino-cum-resort city, is a special administrative region of China that was under Portuguese rule from 1557 to 1999. With a population of about 680,000 in an area of about 33 square kilometers, Macau is one of the world’s most densely populated places.
Catholicism in Macau bears the legacy of Portuguese rule. Macau Diocese covers the entire island and has about 30,000 Catholics in nine parishes. Pope Gregory XIII consecrated the diocese of Macau on Jan. 23, 1576, making it the first diocese created in the Far East.