(CTN News) – Have you ever considered the impact a simple act, like donating blood, can have on saving lives? As Singapore’s population ages, the demand for blood increases, making the need for youthful blood donors more crucial than ever.
Meet Shiek Abdullah Mohamed Fazil, a 23-year-old National University of Singapore undergraduate who has given blood 13 times since 2019.
“Singapore Red Cross and HSA’s Initiatives: Battling Misconceptions and Encouraging Donation”
Fazil’s motive is simple: he knows that every blood donation can save three lives. Reflecting on his path, Fazil notes that some of his peers are hesitant, frequently because to a phobia of needles. To overcome this, he emphasises the necessity of motivating and teaching the next generation about blood donation from a young age.
Recent data from the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) show a troubling trend. The number of young blood donors (ages 16 to 25) has been declining. In 2023, youth comprised only 15% of the donor pool, down from 17% in 2022 and a considerable reduction from 33% in 2011.
The reduction, compounded by the epidemic, caused SRC to discontinue school outreach and mobile blood drives, which are critical for teaching and recruiting young donors. Although these efforts have resumed, regaining momentum takes time.
Singapore’s Projected Blood Unit Requirements and the Role of O Blood Type Donors”
SRC and HSA are continuously attempting to clarify myths about blood donation. The Youth Blood Donor Programme, which empowers young ambassadors, and digital tools such as the DonateBlood app are among the initiatives implemented.
Despite these efforts, with approximately 600 donors departing the pool each year due to age or sickness, maintaining an adequate blood supply remains difficult.
Singapore requires roughly 125,000 units of blood each year, which is predicted to increase to nearly 160,000 units by 2030, emphasising the urgency. The ageing population, more susceptible to medical diseases, contributes significantly to the growing demand.
The recent SRC and HSA plea for O blood type donors before the Chinese New Year emphasises the vital need for varied blood types. As the universal blood group, O blood type is critical when patients’ blood groups are unknown. However, stocks are at critical levels, putting elective surgeries in danger and jeopardising life-saving transfusions.
Kymn Yee, a 44-year-old lecturer with thalassaemia, emphasises the personal implications of blood shortages. Her monthly blood transfusions are essential for a normal, healthy lifestyle. With half of Singapore’s patients having the O blood type, the repercussions of diminishing supplies are real and immediate.