Dr Noor Hisham: Surge in Covid-19 cases has impacted blood banks’ reserves

Members of the public donate blood at the National Blood Centre in Kuala Lumpur February 4, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Members of the public donate blood at the National Blood Centre in Kuala Lumpur February 4, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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PUTRAJAYA, Aug 1 — The increase in Covid-19 cases between May 31 and July 25 has led to a sharp drop in blood collection nationwide, especially in the Klang Valley, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said. 

He said among the factors for the shortage were concerns by the public and donors on safety issues during the blood donation process as well as cancellations of blood donation programmes. 

“This declining trend is extremely worrying and can affect patient treatment capacity,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry (MoH), the National Blood Centre (PDN) and blood banks have always prioritised the safety of blood donors, blood donation campaign organisers and staff to ensure a safe blood donation process.

He said each blood bank must comply with standard operating procedures (SOP) based on ‘Guidelines for Prevention and Control During Blood Donation Activities to Curb the Transmission of Infectious Diseases Covid-19-Annex 49’ to improve public safety.

According to him, the guidelines have been updated recently in line with international guidelines which have SOPs that require blood donors and health workers to be certified healthy before entering blood donation venues. 

“This includes conducting preliminary screening on prospective donors with only those who show no symptoms, are not infected with Covid-19 or have no close contact with Covid-19 patients within 14 days can donate blood,” he said.

“The arrival of donors to the donation venues is always monitored and limited to a certain number at a time to ensure physical distancing during the donation process is complied with," he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said registration desks, blood donation equipment, beds and stress balls are continuously cleaned by health staff. 

He said blood donation needs to continue even though the country was facing the Covid-19 pandemic as it was to help patients in need.

This includes emergency patients for cases such accidents or complications during childbirth, premature babies who lack blood, thalassemia patients, cancer patients, those with kidney failure as well as those who need to undergo critical and complex surgery, he said.

In addition, he said of late, there were also many Covid-19 patients, especially those with a background of chronic diseases, who also needed blood transfusions.

Dr Noor Hisham said the average amount of blood needed per week for patient use nationwide was 14,000 bags of blood, including at blood centres, which needed 3,500 to 4,000 bags of blood per week to supply to hospitals in the Klang Valley.

MoH called on the public to immediately come forward to donate blood at PDN, PDN Donation Suite, Midvalley Mall, Puspanita Blood Donation Suite, Precinct 10, Putrajaya and nearby blood banks as well as during mobile blood donation campaigns to ensure adequate blood supply at all times in hospitals.

The PDN in Jalan Tun Razak operates Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 8pm and from 8am to 4pm on weekends.

The PDN Donation Suite, Midvalley Mall and the Puspanita Blood Donation Suite, Precinct 10, Putrajaya operate daily from 10am to 6pm. — Bernama

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