Why blood donations are needed

PHOTO: Why blood donations are needed

Did you know that despite the advances in medical science, scientists are still unable to come up with a synthetic blood product that can fully perform all the functions of human blood?

This is one of the reasons why blood donations are needed.

While many people believe that blood is only necessary during medical emergencies, the truth is that blood is needed regularly by people who suffer from blood disorders, and even cancer patients. Leukemia patients, for example, need platelets from 10 or more donors regularly.

People undergoing major operations such as a heart bypass will also require blood.

At least 350 to 400 blood donors are needed daily in order to meet the needs of hospitals and to maintain a healthy stock level for emergencies.

According to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), 15 units of blood are used in Singapore every hour. In order to meet the transfusion needs of patients in Singapore, 100,000 units are needed in a year.

Currently, Singapore's blood stocks indicator shows that there are low levels of Type A and Type B blood in the blood banks, while the level of Type O blood is very low. This means that if no donors with such blood types come forward to donate within the next week (or in the case of Type O blood, days), blood stocks may run out.

Everyone who fits the following criteria is encouraged to donate blood:

  • Are between 16 and 60 years old;
  • Weigh at least 45 kg;
  • Have a haemoglobin level of at least 12.5 g/dl;
  • Are in generally good health;
  • Have not had any symptoms of infection for at least 1 week e.g. sore throat, cough, runny nose, diarrhea; and
  • Have not had a fever in the last 3 weeks.

Those who wish to donate blood can approach Bloodbank@HSA or Bloodbank@Woodlands. They can also take part in the SPH Red Apple Day. This event, which is jointly organised with the Singapore Red Cross Society, will be held on January 18 (Wednesday) at SPH News Centre, 1000 Toa Payoh North. While the first hour (11am to 12 noon) is reserved exclusively for SPH staff, members of the public can donate their blood from 12 noon onwards.

Blood donation can help save a person's life - perhaps that of a loved one, or even your own. Give the gift of life today.