Donors urged to supply blood regularly

A nurse logging the bags of donated blood at the Hospital Sultanah Aminah blood bank in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: There was a slight drop in the number of new blood donors in the first 11 months of the year compared to last year.

Hospital Sultanah Aminah management said 8,356 people signed up as first-time blood donors from January to November this year.

Last year, there were 8,940 new registrations.

It said the new donors were among the 29,331 donors who gave blood at the HSA blood bank as of November this year, an average of 2,700 donors a month.

“Although the number of new donors dropped, a large number of those who registered last year have continued to donate blood regularly this year.

“We have about 1,007 regular donors who gave throughout this year, which is a good sign, ” the management said.

Ideally, the hospital aimed to collect about 100 to 120 bags of blood daily to cater to the needs of various patients not only in the hospital but also those in other districts.

HSA said its blood bank supplied blood to hospitals in Pontian, Kulai, Mersing, Kota Tinggi as well as the surrounding private hospitals.

“If need be, we will also supply blood to government hospitals in other states.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has seen more collaboration between the blood banks in different states, where those with more blood supply assist those that are running low.

“In October, we sent 460 bags of blood to Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Sabah and another 80 bags of blood to Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah in Kedah.

“In September, 120 bags were sent to Hospital Wanita dan Kanak-Kanak in Sabah and 80 bags to Hospital Tunku Ampuan Rahimah in Klang, ” the HSA management said, revealing that blood supply in the hospital’s blood bank was currently sufficient.

However, it said the stable blood supply did not mean that the public should stop donating blood.

Donors are advised to give blood regularly every three months or with 90-day intervals to ensure optimum blood supply to help those in need, the hospital said.

Those who wish to donate blood should also lead a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet including iron-rich food like red meat, beans and leafy greens, and exercising regularly to keep their haemoglobin levels normal.

HSA management explained that there were several factors resulting in a person not meeting the requirements of blood donation such as low haemoglobin count, low or high blood pressure, over or underweight as well as those who are on medication.

“Those in the high-risk groups such as cancer, heart and blood infection patients, drug users, people with multiple sex partners and sex workers are not allowed to donate blood.

“Besides that, those who have just undergone minor or major surgical procedures such as dental treatment, tattooing and acupuncture are advised to put off donating blood for the time being, ” it added.

“Our staff also frequently meet the public who avoid giving blood as they believe it will make them gain weight or experience blood insufficiency.

“Those are just myths that we have to bust in order to make them understand blood donation better, ” said HSA.

The management said local assemblymen and community leaders could also play a part in encouraging more people to donate blood.

“We cooperate with elected representatives, community leaders, public and private sectors and non-governmental organisations in holding donation drives at shopping centres from time to time.

“To drum up enthusiasm around giving blood, our blood bank introduced the term Johor Blood Warriors in December last year where blood donors in the state are labelled heroes who are willing to help the needy.

“This gives them a sense of pride in helping others and we hope that more people feel inclined to give blood regularly throughout the year, not just during festivities and special occasions, ” she added.

Those interested to donate blood can visit the HSA blood bank at Jalan Mahmoodiah, Johor Baru (opposite Calvary Welfare Home) or call 07-2200 169.

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