M’sia needs more blood donors to hit ‘safe zone’

PETALING JAYA: More blood donors are required so Malaysia can maintain a “safe zone” of blood stock to meet the nation’s daily demand for at least 2,000 blood bags, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (pic).

“We do not want to grow complacent. That is why we are always having blood donation campaigns,” he said.

Dzulkefly said the ministry would intensify efforts to promote such campaigns, which are a collaborative initiative involving the ministry, the National Blood Centre and St John Ambulance of Malaysia.

“We need additional blood supplies even though the blood bank has sufficient stock,” he said after launching the St John Ambulance Malaysia Blood Donation Suite at 1 Utama Shopping Centre yesterday.

Addressing concerns about a potential decline in blood donors, Dzulkefly said blood donation centres might extend their operational hours to ensure a stable blood inventory.

With Ramadan coming soon, Dzulkefly acknowledged that there is typically a decline in the number of blood donors during the fasting month, but this would not impact overall blood procurement operations as blood donation transcends ethnicity and religion.

“The crucial factor is the donor’s health, which is the primary requirement,” he said.

National Blood Centre Blood Procurement Division Donor Management Section head Dr Thane Moze Darumalinggam spoke of a crucial need for more blood donors, especially among the youth.

“We would like to encourage young people aged above 17 to come forward and donate,” she said, adding that they should do so together with their parents or guardians.

She also suggested that more donation sites be set up nationwide to accommodate the youth and ensure a consistent blood supply.

The centre aims to collect a minimum of 2,000 blood bags per day throughout the country.

In the Klang Valley, there has been an increase in demand from 500 to 700 units per day over the last two years.

This is attributed not only to motor vehicle accidents but also to the rising number of transfusion-dependent patients.

“As of last year, throughout the country, we have collected more than 800,000 blood bags. We anticipate that on average, a 10% to 15% increment in blood requirement is needed each year,” she added.

St John Ambulance Malaysia and the National Blood Centre plan to open more blood donation centres in shopping centres, with recent openings at IOI City Mall, Putrajaya and Mid Valley Megamall in the Klang Valley.

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