Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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A national blood system in the works: Minister

James Kon

The Ministry of Health (MoH) is drafting a national blood system, which includes national blood policy, Voluntary Non-Remunerated Blood Donor Programme, appropriate clinical use of blood and blood products, to ensure a safe and universal access to patients in need of blood transfusion.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar unveiled the system during the World Blood Donor Day celebration at the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital yesterday.

The minister highlighted the need to establish a national blood committee to monitor and ensure the formulation of the system and policies are implemented accurately and effectively.

The need of blood transfusion for millions globally is apparent and healthcare institutions face the challenge of providing sufficient blood supplies while also ensuring its quality and safety, he said.

Themed “Give Blood, Give Plasma, Share Life, Share Often”, the World Blood Donor Day slogan focusses on thalassemia patients who need regular blood transfusions throughout their lives and emphasises on the important role of every qualified individual to continuously donate blood.

Patients diagnosed with thalassemia, a blood disorder disease, need the blood transfusion treatment due to an insufficient oxygen supply throughout their body cells from the lack of hemoglobin in the red blood cells.

ABOVE & BELOW: Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar talks to one of the blood donors; and officials attending the World Blood Donor Day celebration. PHOTOS: JAMES KON

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham with the country’s top blood donor, Tung Yiu Hong, who has donated 157 times

“In 2022, the number of thalassemia patients needing blood transfusions was at 128. The percentage of blood supply used for blood transfusion treatment at RIPAS hospital is 35 to 40 per cent from the overall total blood collected each year for the past five years,” said the minister.

“Blood donation campaigns in Brunei Darussalam are actively being carried out from time to time. The MoH, through Blood Donation Centre at the Department of Laboratory Services, has always worked with government agencies, educational institutions, uniform groups, private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to coordinate mobile blood donation campaigns in all districts,” said the minister.

Blood donation centres recorded 16,505 pints of blood from 3,416 donors, including 3,467 newly-registered blood donors in 2022.

The goal recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the annual number of blood donors is one to three per cent of the total population to meet the country’s needs in dealing with emergency situations.

“In 2022, Brunei Darussalam reached 2.9 per cent and has been consistent with the WHO goal since 2014,” said the minister.

To ensure the country stays on course, the Blood Donation Centre has actively organised donation campaigns to attract more blood donors. Meanwhile, a blood donation drive will be held at the Al-‘Afiah Hall at the MoH premises tomorrow until June 20 from 9am to 11.30am and from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.