Blood donations a shared responsibility in fostering a strong Singapore

It is crucial that our defence is left not only to soldiers. Total Defence is about everyone playing a part in defending Singapore.

One such method of contribution is through blood donation, which ensures a sustainable supply of safe blood for transfusion needs, making it a key aspect of our emergency preparedness and civil defence.

However, the ageing population in Singapore presents a double-edged challenge: Blood supply will see a decline as donors mature and are more susceptible to health problems, but the demand for blood will increase as the elderly develop health complications that require blood transfusions.

To counter this, the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) is aiming to increase the proportion of youth in the donor base, from 28 per cent to 35 per cent by 2030.

This will provide a strong foundation for a sustainable blood supply.

Hence, more should be done to engage young people and encourage them to start a lifelong commitment towards blood donation.

The SRC is now actively training students to become blood-donor recruiters by having them reach out to their friends and family.

However, a different angle may be considered.

The SRC could collaborate more with students to organise campaigns and blood-donation drives in schools.

For example, a group of students in my school is working with the SRC to organise a campaign to raise awareness about blood donations.

The week-long campaign will engage fellow schoolmates, teachers and the public, culminating in a public blood-donation drive.

Such collaborations are meaningful because they not only create a pool of people with a commitment to be blood donors, but also develop ambassadors who, through the collaboration, may be inspired to continue advocating blood donation in their schools and homes long after the campaign has ended.

Thus, more students should be encouraged to contact and work with the SRC to organise such campaigns and blood-donation drives.

Tan Joy

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2016, with the headline 'Blood donations a shared responsibility in fostering a strong Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe