China Orders Blood Collection Centers To Install Video Cameras To Ensure Regulations Being Followed
China's Ministry of Health on Tuesday ordered all blood collection centers in the country to install video cameras to ensure that medical staff members are following regulations, the South China Morning Post reports. According to the Morning Post, the order comes after six people involved in a blood selling scheme in Jieyang city in China's Guangdong province were jailed (Chan, South China Morning Post, 7/11).
Blood selling practices during the 1990s in China's Henan province contributed to the spread of HIV, which affected about one million people, according to some advocates. The situation in Henan led officials to pledge reform, and the health ministry has said that it maintains stringent supervision of blood-collection centers in the country. According to the health ministry, it closed about 150 illegal collection and supply agencies nationwide in 2004, the last year for which official figures are available.
According to the United Nations and the Chinese government, tainted blood largely has been brought under control in the country. About 5% of newly diagnosed HIV cases last year were the result of tainted blood transfusions or blood selling, according to the health ministry. A Xinhua News Agency report posted on the Jieyang government's Web site said that blood sellers still number in the hundreds. The report also said people who sell their blood often take medication that allows them to sell blood frequently and some sell their blood up to 16 times monthly (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/10).
Hu Jia, an HIV/AIDS advocate, said he doubts that the new policy would work because all blood stations involved in illegal blood sales had been supported by local governments. "All blood stations on the mainland are set up to make money, not save people's lives," Hu said, adding, "And all the stations are supported by local health department officials. Otherwise, they wouldn't be able to run such a business" (South China Morning Post, 7/11). According to Reuters, the policy aims to eradicate the black market trade of blood. The surveillance system is scheduled to be in place by October, according to the health ministry (Reuters, 7/11).