SINGAPORE – A new blood collection centre has opened at the One Punggol integrated community hub. This is in line with the Health Sciences Authority’s (HSA) strategy to locate blood banks close to where people live, work, study and play, to recruit more donors, particularly youth, to meet rising demand.
Over the past five years, the demand for blood has increased by around 4 per cent, rising from 110,823 units in 2018 to 115,794 units in 2022, said HSA.
“While we consistently strive to meet the demand for blood, there have been instances when our blood stocks dropped to low or critical levels due to low collection during long weekends and school holidays, and surges in blood usage,” said HSA chief executive Mimi Choong May Ling on Thursday.
Bloodbank@One Punggol can collect up to 100 units of blood a day.
In 2022, about 21 per cent of blood donors in Singapore were residents in north-east Singapore. The region, which includes Punggol and nearby towns like Sengkang, has more than 900,000 residents who are relatively young, Dr Choong said in a speech at the centre’s opening.
“We hope to recruit many more new and younger donors to help secure the long-term sustainability of our National Blood Programme.”
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, who officially opened the blood bank on Thursday, said that more than 160,000 units of blood will be needed every year by 2030, owing to a super-aged population and increased healthcare needs.
HSA now collects about 120,000 units of blood a year.
Mr Ong recently appealed for those with O+ and O- blood types to give blood, amid rising blood usage as hospitals catch up on operations and treatments postponed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also launched an award to encourage more youth to become regular donors.
HSA said the proportion of youth donors in Singapore has been falling over the past five years. In 2022, young people aged 16 to 25 made up 17 per cent of all blood donors here.
Youth donors are needed as older ones drop out with each passing year due to age or illness. In Singapore, blood donors must be at least 16 and at most 60. Donors aged 16 and 17 must weigh at least 45kg and must have a signed parental consent form.
Bloodbank@One Punggol is the fifth blood bank in Singapore. It operates from noon to 8pm on weekdays except Tuesdays, when it is closed, and from 10am to 5pm on weekends.
The other four are at the HSA building in Outram, Dhoby Xchange, Westgate Tower in Jurong, and Woodlands Civic Centre.
On Thursday, HSA and the Singapore Red Cross also launched the Adopt A Bloodbank initiative, where social organisations, institutions or corporations work with a blood bank to cultivate a sustainable pool of regular blood donors.
Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and Buddhist organisation Soka Gakkai Singapore have adopted Bloodbank@One Punggol. SIT, which has an upcoming Punggol campus, aims to promote blood donation drives and mobilise its students and staff, particularly during critical periods when blood stocks run low, HSA said.
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