National Blood Center

Historical Background
Following a resolution made at the 17th League of Red Cross Conference, Professor Dr Dr. Chalerm Burananonda, M.D., then the Director of the Science Section, Thai Red Cross Society, proposed to the Thai Red Cross Council to establish the Blood Service Unit in the Science Section. On January 18, 1952, the Thai Red Cross Society officially offered blood services to the public in response to a resolution.of the International Red Cross Society. In 1953, members of Rangsit family contributed money to build the Rangsitanusorn (Rangsit Memorial) Building to house the Office of the Blood Service Unit. The opening ceremony was graciously presided over by Their Majesties the King and Queen on November 12, 1953.

In the first few years, blood donations took place only at the Office, and there were fewer than 10 donors. The first donor was His Royal Highness Paribatra. In 1955, the donation of cars by St Andrew Association of Bangkok made it possible to collect donations of blood outside the Office. In 1956, Thai Red Cross President Her Majesty the Queen began to bestow commemorative pins on people who had made one, over seven, over twenty, over thirty, over forty, and over fifty donations of blood. In 1977, only those with over 24 donations were entitled to the pins.

In 1961, to expand the scope of blood services, the Thai Red Cross Society appointed the first Committee for Blood Donation Promotion with Major General Siri Siriyothin as Chair from 1962 to 1969. During this time a number of regional blood donation units were opened. When he passed away in 1979, the National Blood Center decided to name its 4th floor conference room the Siri Sitiyothin Conference Room in memory of his seventeen consecutive years of devotion to the country's blood services.

In 1963, the French government expressed its interest in contributing to the development of blood services in countries in Southeast Asia including Thailand. Professor Jean Barnard, an expert in hematology, visited Thailand and informed the Society that the French government was willing to offer assistance concerning personnel training and equipment worth 10 million baht to enable the establishment of the National Blood Center.

On October 14, 1963, the Minister of Public Health assigned the Public Health Permanent Secretary to chair the first meeting of representatives from blood service authorities and agencies. A resolution was passed to have the Thai Red Cross Society, which was most ready in this field, draft and propose the National Blood Center establishment project.

After detailed discussions and consultations with representatives from the Ministry of Public Health and the French government, Dr Chalerm Burananonda, M.D., the Director of Science Section, proposed a draft of the project to a Thai Red Cross Council meeting on September 16, 1965. It was agreed that the project should subsequently be presented to the Minister of Public Health and the Cabinet, respectively. It was also agreed at the Thai Red Cross Council meeting to receive assistance from France concerning the establishment of the National Blood Center, of which the Thai Red Cross Society was to be in charge.

In The Thai Red Cross Council meeting on February 24, 1966, a resolution was passed calling for the separation of the Blood Service Unit from the Science Section and renaming the new agency the Thai Red Cross National Blood Center with the first director being Dr Chalerm Burananon, M.D. On November 16 of the same year, a contract was signed concerning the construction of the National Blood Center in Bangkok, and in 1966 the government approved a budget of 6.1 million baht to construct and equip the Center. On March 14, 1968, His Exellency Prime Minister Field Marshal Thanom Kittikajorn laid the foundation stone of the National Blood Center Building, and on October 13, 1969, His Majesty the King presided over the opening ceremony of the building, which has housed the Center's office ever since. In 1977, the government allocated a budget of 14 million baht to construct a four-story building, which was completed in 1979 and where plasma components are separated and dry plasma is prepared. Over the past few decades, the country's blood services have seen great development and expansion. They are widely accepted among the public, both locally and abroad, as safe and reliable.

The responsibilities of the National Blood Center are specified in Item 42.2 of the Articles of the Thai Red Cross Society as follows:     
1. Collect as much blood as possible from unpaid donors for distribution to patients all over the country.     
2. Process spare blood for storage and distribution to patients with particular diseases.     
3. Conduct research on blood transfusion and hematology.     
4. Cooperate with Provincial Red Cross Chapters in establishing National Blood Service Branches and National Blood Service Regions.

At present, there are many blood service units of National Blood Service Branches, Provincial Red Cross Chapters, Blood Service Branches in hospitals in the provinces, and National Blood Service Branches in Bangkok. Blood services by the National Blood Service are offered in Bangkok at:     
1. Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital.     
2. Somdejprapinklao Hospital     
3. Institute of Pathology, Pramongkutklao Medicine Center     
4. Police Hospital     
5. Ramathibodi Hospital     
6. Vajira Hospital

Roles presently performed and responsibilities presently held by the National Blood Bureau:     
1. Collect blood and components to distribute among government and private hospitals in Bangkok and nearby areas.     
2. Produce blood drawing and storage equipment, such as ACD and CPD containers, for blood service units nationwide.     
3. Produce blood-testing chemicals for relevant agencies nationwide.     
4. Produce plasma products, such as albumin and immunoglobulin, for the treatment of patients.     
5. Prepare work procedures for blood service units nationwide.     
6. Provide assistance to the blood bank in various hospitals about problematic blood group testing and blood group location.     
7. Offer short courses to blood service personnel.     

The National Blood Center is broken down into 10 work lines, as shown below:     

* The General Administration Division is responsible for general affairs of the Center and has three units:

1. The General Administration Unit is responsible for in-coming and out-going documents, personnel affairs, and vehicles.     
2. The Finance, Accountancy, and Supplies Unit is responsible for finance, budgets, purchasing and supplies, blood product sales, and blood services.     
3. The Building and Landscape Unit is responsible for all kinds of technical jobs including maintenance and repair of tools, machinery, and buildings.     

* The Blood Drawing and Storage Division is responsible for drawing and storing blood both at and outside the Center.

On-site blood collection. Eligible blood donors can come to the National Blood Centre to give blood any day at these times:      

Monday,Wednesday,Friday               8.00 a.m.- 4.30 p.m.
Tuesday,Thursday                            7.30 a.m. - 7.30 p.m.
Saturdays,Sundays and other official holidays     8.30 a.m. - 3.30 p.m.

Offsite blood collection. Mobile blood units are out to collect blood at government and private agencies in Bangkok and nearby areas any day including official holidays, following blood donation appointments scheduled by the Center staff and the staff of relevant agencies.

The Ordinary Laboratory Division is responsible for testing every drop of donated blood to make sure that it is safe before distribution to hospitals for the purpose of saving lives. The tests performed include:     
1. ABO blood group testing.     
2. Rh testing.     
3. Antibody testing.     
4. Syphilis testing.     
5. Viral Hepatitis B testing.     
6. Viral Hepatitis C testing.     
7. HIV testing.

The Plasma and Blood Processing Division's responsibilities include:     
1. Prepare and distribute blood components among government and private hospitals.     
2. Produce and distribute blood products, such as albumin, HBIG (hepatitis B immune globulin), and HRIG (human rabies immune globulin), among government and private hospitals.     
3. Control the quality standards of blood products.     
4. Offer training courses to students majoring in medical science, science staff, and blood bank personnel in hospitals nationwide.

The World Health Organization Laboratory Division's responsibilities include:     
1. Perform supplementary blood tests to confirm or add to the results given by the Ordinary Laboratory Division and the blood bank in hospitals nationwide.     
2. Collect plasma and thrombocytes (platelets).     
3. Store erythrocytes (red blood cells), bone marrow, and frozen bones.     
4. Collect blood for self-use before an operation.     
5. Perform blood tests for blood donors found to carry hepatitis viruses and care for their health

2. Anti-B     
3. Anti-AB     
4. Anti-A     
5. Anti-H     
7. Anti-M     
8. Anti-N     
9. Anti-D     

1. Produce and sell acid citrate dextrose (ACD) solutions, which prevent blood from clotting, for blood storage at the National Blood Center and other blood service units in Bangkok and the provinces.     
2. Produce and sell distilled water for production of various products and laboratory use at the Center.     
3. Produce chemicals for production of various products and laboratory use at the Center and other blood service units.     
4. Produce and distribute blood-drawing kits for blood collection at the Center and other blood service units.     
5. Prepare sterilized tools for blood collection and storage.     
6. Sterilize tools used in different divisions at the Center.     
7. Control the quality standards of products in the Division and other divisions in the Center.     
8. Prepare offsite blood collection equipment for mobile blood units.     
9. Others, for example,
- Offer training courses to medical scientists and medical science staff.
- Prescribe medicine to the Center staff.
- Collect empty bottles returned by hospitals previously requesting blood.

The Public Relations and Blood Donor Recruitment Division's responsibilities include:     
1. Prepare offsite blood collection and blood donor recruitment procedure plans, and make contact with targeted eligible donors and government and private agencies that may wish to donate blood.     
2. Promote good understanding and distribute knowledge about blood donation among people so that they are motivated to donate blood.     
3. Distribute knowledge about blood service technology through all kinds of media.     
4. Prepare all kinds of public relations materials including teaching media.     
5. Organize seminars, meetings and other projects to encourage various target groups to realize the importance of blood services and to consequently provide further cooperation.

Office of the Director     
This internal office is responsible for performance analysis for development plans, contact with international agencies and academic support, secretarial services for the Director, institution analysis and research, academic support and development, and other ocassional assignments.

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