HSA opens blood donation centre at Dhoby Ghaut

SINGAPORE - Singapore's second fixed satellite blood donation centre was officially opened at Dhoby Ghaut today.

Managed by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), the new centre targets those working in the nearby offices, shoppers as well as students from the surrounding education institutions.

The centre is part of HSA's efforts to make blood donation more convenient and community-based by tailoring the design and decor, operating hours and services to suit the lifestyles of the donors expected to frequent them.

The new blood donation centre will offer later closing hours, opening from 12pm to 8pm everyday except Thursdays and Public Holidays, when it will be closed.

Donors can also enjoy free wireless access and phone charging services offered at the centre. The queue management system has also been enhanced so that donors can receive SMS alerts when it comes to their turn.

A new electronic form-filling system for donors will be piloted at the Dhoby Ghaut centre from mid October. It will be an interactive system that helps donors navigate the donor health assessment questionnaire in a more informed manner.

"Today, only about 1.8 per cent of the residential population in Singapore are regular blood donors," said CEO of HSA Associate Professor John Lim, expressing hope that the convenience of the new centre will generate more public interest in donating blood.

The centre aims to increase the number of youth donors aged 16 to 25 years of age to 35 per cent of total blood donors by 2014. Currently, youth donors make up about 30 per cent of the donor population.

HSA said it will be working closely with the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) to implemented more donor engagement programmes tailored towards the population groups near the new centre.

For example, SRC plans to collaborate with youth groups in schools located nearby to organise road shows and other outreach efforts to attract more youth donors.

"We wish to encourage more people to start donating blood when they are young. Not only are they fit and healthy, it also helps to inculcate a meaningful habit for a lifetime," said Mr Benjamin William, Secretary General of SRC.

More than 100,000 units of blood are needed to meet the transfusion needs of patients every year.

While Singapore's national blood needs are currently met, the national blood requirement is expected to increase by 3 per cent annually.

In light of this, HSA is working towards the aim of establishing about five satellite centres strategically located in each major geographic hub of Singapore.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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