Bandar Seri Begawan (The Brunei Times/ANN) - More than three per cent, or 3.3 per cent to be exact, of Brunei population has donated blood last year, exceeding the one per cent quota recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Minister of Health, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Md Yusof said that out of the total of 12,427 blood donors who registered at the Blood Donation Centre last year, 2,958 were first timers.
"This is an increase of about 40 per cent from the 2,119 new donors registered in 2010, " said the minister in his remarks at the World Blood Donor Day event yesterday.
He said that this means that Brunei has more than meet its blood transfusion needs.
However, the minister warned that "Despite this, we should not be complacent...we still need to raise our efforts to boost this percentage to a more substantial level to ensure that blood supply will always be enough at any time it is needed."He noted that more and more government departments education institutions, public sector and non-government organisations, working together with the Blood Donation Centre to organise mass blood donation campaigns from year to year.
"This is a very good and encouraging sign that the awareness of the importance of blood donation is growing (in the country)."
He highlighted that "at the global level, shortage of blood stocks is a common problem faced by many countries."
The minister pointed out that numerous efforts have been done by both government and non-government sectors all around the world to increase and add these blood stocks. This include organising activities to raise public awareness on the importance of donating blood and and the same time to invite new donors and motivate the existing ones to continue to donate voluntarily.
The minister said that "in Brunei, the Blood Donation Centre at RIPAS Hospital is the government agency responsible for preparing sufficient, suitable and safe stocks of blood and its components to be used by medical professionals to save lives of their patients."
"These services are also provided in every government hospitals in other districts."
He said that "one unit of blood can save the lives of three patients as blood is made up of three components: the red blood cells, platelets and plasma. "These three components are very much needed to save those who are severely injured from accidents, undergoing surgery, who premature babies, cancer, thalesemia and leukemia patients."
He also said that blood donors were always needed as there have yet to be a scientific discovery of a replacement for the human blood.
As part of the programme yesterday, between 300 and 400 people participated in an aerobic exercise and walkathon around the Health Promotion Centre.