World Blood Donor Day: Making health everyone’s business

National 3 minutes, 5 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

WORLD Blood Donor Day 2016 is celebrated globally today carrying the theme “Blood connects us all” and the slogan “Share life, give blood”.

The objectives of this year’s campaign are to thank blood donors for their life-saving gift of blood, and to create wider public awareness of the need for regular blood donation.

In a message issued in conjunction with World Blood Donor Day 2016, Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Dr Haji Zulkarnain Hj Hanafi said that one blood donation can save the lives of three people.

“The Ministry of Health (MoH) would like to take this opportunity to appreciate and pay tribute to the men and women in Brunei Darussalam who are blood donors.

“Donating blood allows those of us who are healthy to do our bit to help others who are not as fortunate,” YB Dato Dr Hj Zulkarnain said.

In his message, the Health minister said that Brunei received a total of 15,183 blood donors, including 3,160 registered new blood donors, in 2015.

“In order to ensure that this supply remains sufficient, safe and sustainable, we invite more blood donors to come forward.

“Health is everyone’s business and as blood donors, we can play our part in ensuring that the people most in need of healthcare, some of whom may be our families and loved ones, are able to continue long and fulfilling lives,” he said.

The health minister also said that MoH works continuously with other government agencies, educational institutions, uniformed forces, the private sector and other non-government organisations to coordinate blood donation campaigns in all four districts.

“We want to create ample opportunities and a welcoming space for new blood donors to participate in this worthwhile endeavour.

“We assure you that your donation will not be wasted, our newly renovated Blood Donation Centre and the Blood Bank at the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital will ensure that your blood donation is screened and treated in accordance with the highest international standards,” the minister added.

In line with World Health Organisation (WHO) requirements, all donated blood in the country is subjected to screening for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis before it can be used.

According to WHO, this year’s World Blood Donor Day also aims to persuade countries to show appreciation to regular, voluntary, unpaid donors and to commit to self-sufficiency in blood supply, and to inspire those who have not yet donated blood to start donating.

WHO said that 62 countries currently collect 100 per cent of their blood supply from voluntary, unpaid blood donors, and RIPAS Hospital’s Blood Donation Centre representatives have previously said that Brunei is one of these countries.

Previously, Hj Matusop Hj Daud, a supervisor at the RIPAS Hospital’s Blood Donation Centre, said that the hospital requires at least 50 pints of blood per day on average.

Earlier this year, he said that there were absolutely no disadvantages to giving blood, and that giving blood regularly lowers one’s risk of cancer and heart attacks, as well as calorie levels.

The blood donation supervisor also said that it is safe for people with tattoos to donate blood as long as the tattoos are over 12 months old and the blood donors meet other eligibility requirements.

Muslims can donate blood even while fasting in Ramadhan, as long as they are well-rested, have eaten and are not taking any medication, he said.

The RIPAS Blood Donation Centre will be observing World Blood Donor Day on June 15 with a night blood donation event at the MoH Al-Afiah Hall from 7pm to 9.30pm.

Three more night donation events will also be held at the RIPAS Blood Donation Centre itself from 7pm to 9.30pm on June 16, 18 and 23.

The Brunei Times