KOTA KINABALU: The public is urged to donate blood during the festive season to overcome shortages in blood banks.
Sabah’s new Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Datuk Frankie Poon said during festive months such as Ramadan, Chinese New Year and school holidays, the blood received from donors would be down by an average of 20%.
“Every month we need a minimum of 6,000 pints of blood, of which 2,000 pints go to thalassaemia patients.
“As it is the month of Ramadan and there is a shortage, we appeal to the public to come forward (to donate),” he said after leading DAP members to a blood donation drive at Hospital Queen Elizabeth II here yesterday.
He also called on the hospital’s blood bank to find various ways to encourage blood donation, including working with NGOs.
It was Poon’s first programme under his new portfolio after he officially clocked in at his office on Thursday.
Previously the Sabah Youth and Sports minister, the acting state DAP chief took over the health ministry following the passing of Datuk Stephen Wong, who was the Sabah DAP chairman.
Poon’s old portfolio is now helmed by Luyang assemblyman Ginger Phoong.
Meanwhile, Dr Jamaludin Mail, who was in charge during the blood donation drive by the hospital blood bank, said such shortages were common across the nation during festive seasons, especially Ramadan.
“This is because people normally do not donate blood during the fasting month, so one of the ways to get blood donation is to go to mosques and open booths after prayers,” he said.