MoH worries over declining blood supply

by S BIRRUNTHA/ graphic by MZUKRI

THE country’s blood bank stock is down by 40%, as blood donation and collection efforts have been reduced due to the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said despite various promotions conducted by the Health Ministry (MoH) and its partners, the achievement of blood collection throughout the MCO has not been satisfactory.

He said the decline in blood donation is even more alarming now as more elective health services at MoH hospitals have begun to operate.

“Our blood supply must be adequate. Since the MCO, our use of blood supply has gone down, perhaps contributed by the 60% to 70% decrease in traffic accidents. However, our blood collection has also gone down by 40% compared to previous years.

“From March 2018 to May 2018, we collected 111,328 packs of blood, while from March to May this year, we have only collected 67,135 packs of blood. This is only 60% of our target,” he said during his daily Covid-19 updates yesterday.

He added that with Hari Raya Aidilfitri just around the corner and other festivities coming in the near future, it is common that there will be less people donating blood.

“We are worried because many hospitals are starting to do elective surgeries and we estimate an increase from an average of 9,000 packs a week to 13,000 packs a week.

“Accident cases have also increased by 5% to 10% which requires hospitalisation,” he said.

Following this, Dr Noor Hisham has called on the people to donate blood at the National Blood Centre (NBC) or local blood banks throughout the country.

He said the NBC and blood banks will be open until 9pm daily to make it easier for Muslims to donate blood after breaking their fast throughout Ramadhan.

On the coronavirus development, 31 new Covid-19 cases were recorded yesterday, involving 10 imported cases and 21 local transmissions. Out of the total, 10 patients were non-locals.

Among the active cases, 11 have been placed in the intensive care unit, while seven of them require respiratory aid.

The increase in new cases has brought the current active cases to 1,189 and the country’s overall total to 7,009.

Meanwhile, 60 patients have recovered, increasing the recovered cases percentage to 81.4%, which equals to 5,706 as of yesterday.

No new deaths have been recorded, maintaining the country’s death tally at 114.

Dr Noor Hisham had again advised the public to remain at home during the Hari Raya celebrations and urged them to maintain the Covid-19 standard operating procedures.

“Although the government has allowed visiting during the first day of Aidilfitri, please avoid touching and shaking hands. If someone is asymptomatic or showing signs of being Covid-19 positive, chances of infections are high.

“And if you must visit your relatives, make sure you practise good hygiene and wash your hands at all the homes that you visit,” he said.

He added that the public should also avoid visiting the graves of their loved ones and holding large family gatherings at home.