With blood banks running low, Health D-G calls for more donors

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that with elective surgeries coming back into operation, the country sorely needs more blood donors to adequately supply the hospitals. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that with elective surgeries coming back into operation, the country sorely needs more blood donors to adequately supply the hospitals. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — The Health Ministry has called on Malaysians to donate blood as the country’s blood bank stock is down by 40 per cent, as blood donation and collection efforts were nearly halved due to the movement control order (MCO).

In his daily Covid-19 press conference, its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham said that with elective surgeries coming back into operation, the country sorely needs more blood donors to adequately supply the hospitals.

“Our blood supply must be adequate. Since the MCO, our use of blood has gone down, perhaps contributed by the 60 to 70 per cent decrease in traffic accidents. However, our blood collection has also gone down by 40 per cent when compared to previous years.

“In March 2018 to March 2020, we collected 111,328 packs of blood. In March 2020 until May 2020 we only collected 67,135 packs of blood. This is only 60 per cent of our target despite the Health Ministry’s many promotional activities.

“We are worried because many hospitals are starting to do elective surgeries and we estimate an increase from an average of 9,000 packs a week to 13,000 packs a week. Accidents have also increased by five to 10 per cent and this requires hospital care,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

He also predicted that with Aidilfitri just around the corner and that there are other festivities looming in the near future, there will be less people donating blood.

Dr Noor Hisham pointed out that filling up the blood bank is critical as it is required for many medical procedures including giving birth, to treat accident victims, major surgeries and for cancer patients among others.

The public can head to the National Blood Centre or their local blood banks to help donate their blood.

He added that blood banks and the Centre will open until 9pm daily to make it easier for Muslims to donate blood after breaking their fast throughout Ramadan.

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