Blood donors honoured at ceremony

Every day, an estimated 400 units of blood are needed to sustain the national blood stock.
Every day, an estimated 400 units of blood are needed to sustain the national blood stock.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - The contributions of 1,690 blood donors and community partners were honoured on Saturday (June 29) at the 16th World Blood Donor Day and Champion Blood Donor Recognition Ceremony at Downtown East.

Last year, 73,280 donors contributed almost 116,000 units of blood, enabling more than 29,000 patients to receive life-saving blood transfusion.

At the ceremony organised by the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and Health Sciences Authority (HSA), it was announced that a fourth satellite blood collection centre at the new Punggol Town Hub will open in 2022.

The new centre aims to offer greater convenience to blood donors living, working and studying in the north-east region.

At the ceremony, 21 champion blood donors received the Medal for Life award, the highest honour reserved for blood donors who have made more than 200 donations.

One in four of them is aged 55 and older.

Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor was the guest of honour at the event and presented awards to donors who made their 50th to 200th blood donations last year.

She noted that the current three satellite centres have contributed half of the national blood supply for patients in Singapore.

While the new blood bank at Punggol is being built, bi-monthly mobile drives have begun at Sengkang General Hospital in May so that residents of Punggol and Sengkang can start donating blood during this period. The response has been very encouraging, said Dr Khor.

However, despite new initiatives by SRC to increase the pool of youth donors, their number has remained at about 25 per cent over the last few years.

Every day, an estimated 400 units of blood are needed to sustain the national blood stock.

As Singapore continues to grapple with the challenges of an ageing population, the need for blood will continue to grow, said Mr Tee Tua Ba, SRC's chairman.

One beneficiary is Ms Serene Lee, who received 15 bags of blood products during her heart transplant surgery in 2015.

"Today, I'm able to walk the wards and take care of my fellow patients as part of a patient support group," said Ms Lee, 39, a housewife.

"This has only been made possible with the precious gift of life that my organ and blood donors have given to me."

To improve the experience of donors and encourage more to come forward, HSA implemented a new Donor Portal and an appointment booking system in November last year to replace the previous DonorCare platform.

The new portal allows donors to make an appointment and fill in the Donor Health Assessment Questionnaire and Declaration Form ahead of time, and to check their donation milestones and histories.

Previously, they had to complete these forms in person at the blood bank.