Every year, on 14 June 2020, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The event serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
Blood is an important resource, both for planned treatments and urgent interventions. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures.
Blood is also vital for treating the wounded during emergencies of all kinds (natural disasters, accidents, armed conflicts, etc.) and has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and perinatal care.
A blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantity is a key component of an effective health system.
Ensuring safe and sufficient blood supplies requires the development of a nationally coordinated blood transfusion service based on voluntary non-remunerated blood donations.
However, in many countries, blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.
On 20 May 2020, health director-general Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah has also 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).
“We are worried because many hospitals are starting to do elective surgeries and we estimate an increase from an average of 9,000 packs [of blood] a week to 13,000 packs a week,” said Dr. Noor Hisham.
“Accidents have also increased by five to 10 per cent and this requires hospital care.”
Malaysians can head to the National Blood Centre or call their local blood banks to help donate their blood.