Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Brunei Town

Every single drop counts

Danial Norjidi

Every year, millions of lives around the world require blood transfusions and blood products to get on with everyday life.

This was shared by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar in a message delivered in conjunction with World Blood Donor Day, which is marked today.

“At this time there is no replacement yet for blood and blood products, and blood that is donated by voluntary blood donors is blood that is most suitable and safe to be used by patients who often require an immediate blood transfusion, such as emergency patients, patients experiencing bleeding while undergoing surgery, mothers with severe bleeding during pregnancy or childbirth, and children who suffer from anaemia due to blood and bone marrow disorders such as thassalemia and leukemia,” he said.

Touching on World Blood Donor Day, the minister noted that the occasion, which is marked on June 14 around the globe, is dedicated to expressing appreciation to all blood donors who voluntarily donate without expecting any reward for it.

In addition, this celebration aims to raise public awareness on the need and importance of continuous blood donation to ensure an adequate supply of blood and blood products that is safe and of quality for the use of patients in need.

According to the minister, this year’s World Blood Donor Day slogan ‘Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives’ highlights the importance of the contribution and role of voluntary blood donation in saving lives and increasing unity in civil society.

According to the minister, this further reinforces the global call for more people around the world to donate blood continuously and contribute to better health.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF HEALTH

“The special focus of this year’s celebration is the role of all walks of life in ensuring that a safe blood supply is always within a healthy level.

“The actions of various parties and all communities in this country are needed to lead activities and initiatives to achieve a safe blood supply through regular voluntary blood donations.

“Public and private sectors as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) all play an important role in together participating in efforts to maintain a supply of blood stocks and in turn helping to save the lives of those who require blood transfusions and blood products,” he said.

The minister noted that the specific objectives of this year’s World Blood Donar Day are to record appreciation for blood donors around the whole world; create wider public awareness of the need for regular, unpaid blood donation; highlight the need for committed, year-round blood donation, to maintain adequate supplies and achieve universal and timely access to safe blood transfusion; recognise and promote the values of voluntary blood donation in enhancing community solidarity and social cohesion; and to raise awareness of the need for the involvement of the Government of Brunei Darussalam in developing a national blood system that is sustainable and resilient to enhance the collection of blood from voluntary donors who do not expect any rewards.

“Alhamdulillah, blood donation activities and campaigns are still an ongoing practice that we can clearly witness in Brunei Darussalam,” he said. “The Ministry of Health (MoH) through the Blood Donation Centre of the Department of Laboratory Services will continue to work together with government agencies, educational institutions, uniformed personnel, private sector and NGOs to coordinate blood donation campaigns in all districts.”

In 2021, the Blood Donation Centre recorded a total of 16,666 collections of blood donated by 12,305 blood donors, including 3,694 newly registered donors. In 2020, a total of 16,156 blood collections were recorded, including 3,215 newly registered donors.

“This means an increase of 3.1 per cent (510 units of blood) in blood collection was recorded in 2021 compared to 2020,” said the minister.

“Meanwhile, the goal for the annual achievement of the number of blood donors recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) is in the range of one to three per cent of the total population to meet the needs of the country in addressing anxiety situations.”

Alhamdulillah, Brunei Darussalam in 2021 reached 2.7 per cent, which was consistent with the achievement from 2014.”

The minister noted that, in ensuring that the achievement continues, the Blood Donation Centre has been actively inviting and encouraging blood donation campaigns to strengthen and expand such activities to attract blood donors.

He said in addition, the Blood Donation Centre at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital and blood banks will continue to strive to provide blood to patients in sufficient quantity, as it is one of the components that is important in ensuring the effectiveness of the health system in the country.

“As such, the MoH calls on blood donors and the public who are eligible to visit the Blood Donation Centre,” he said.

“Meanwhile, government agencies, educational institutions, uniformed personnel, the private sector and NGOs are also called upon to organise blood donation campaigns to help increase the blood supply in the country.

“In ensuring that the blood given to patients is safe and of high quality, and to ensure universal access to the blood bank, the MoH is actively developing a National Blood System that includes the National Blood Policy, the Voluntary Non-Remunerated Blood Donor Programme, Appropriate Clinical Use of Blood and Blood Products, and other related policies,” the minister shared.

“Therefore, the need for a National Blood Committee is seen as very important to monitor and ensure the formulation of the system and policies are implemented correctly and effectively.”

In addition, the Blood Donation Centre is also actively promoting the use of the Bloodkad app, which the minister said has greatly streamlined the blood donation process in terms of registration, filling out health check forms and booking donation slots.

“The use of the app increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic and it was a positive sign towards enhancing the use of the latest info-technology in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution to help smooth the donation process and reduce waiting times,” he said.

The minister shared that among the benefits and advantages of using Bloodkad include: enabling donors to receive notifications to make the next donation 56 days after the last date of donation, and announcements of blood donation campaigns; encouraging donors to donate regularly and consistently; facilitating donors to book slots and answer pre-screening questions online; enabling the Centre to forecast daily donation volumes and enabling the Centre to take appropriate measures to address lower than expected donation volumes.

The minister said, “On this occasion, I and all members of the MoH wish to celebrate and express our deepest appreciation to every blood donor in Brunei Darussalam who has given a lot of time to donate voluntarily without expecting any rewards to help patients in dire need.

“This includes a generation of young heroes who come forward and donate, including those as young as 17 years old.

“In this regard, I would also like to encourage those who have never donated blood to consider doing so for the common good and well-being. We would also like to thank the government agencies, educational institutions, uniformed personnel, the private sector and NGOs as well as individuals who have been involved in implementing blood donation activities and campaigns over the years.

“Finally, we express our appreciation and congratulations to all officers and staff at the RIPAS Hospital Blood Donation Centre and blood banks at Suri Seri Begawan Hospital, Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah Hospital, Pengiran Isteri Hajjah Mariam Hospital and Jerudong Park Medical Centre for their continuous and relentless efforts in ensuring a safe blood supply is always adequate.

“Therefore, in conjunction with World Blood Donor Day, let us together raise awareness on the importance of unity in ensuring adequate and safe blood supply, through continuous voluntary blood donation activities.”

The minister shared that the public can follow the Blood Donation Centre on social media to find out the latest information on its activities.

To get a donation appointment slot at the RIPAS Hospital Blood Donation Centre, the public can book slots through the Bloodkad app or contact the Centre at 2242424 (ext 5745/6001) or via WhatsApp at 8775745 or 7375745.