Blood donors needed as stocks for O+, O- and AB- run low during holiday period, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Blood donors needed as stocks for O+, O- and AB- run low during holiday period

Stocks of several blood types are running low, with the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) appealing to people to donate blood during the holiday period before they travel overseas.

As of Friday, stock levels for blood types O+, O- and AB- were low, according to the Singapore Red Cross website. Stocks for O+ blood were the lowest among all the blood types. There are four stock levels in descending order - healthy, moderate, low and critical.

Stocks of A+, A- and B+ were moderate, with that of only AB+ and B- blood types in healthy levels.

According to HSA, there is typically a 20 per cent drop in blood collection during long weekends and school holidays as donors tend to travel during these periods.

“Travelling to certain countries or regions in some countries with insect-borne infection risks may make donors ineligible to donate blood for a period of time,” said HSA.

“We foresee that this trend will continue throughout the June school holidays as more donors travel overseas. Hence, we would like to appeal to donors to make a donation before their travels to restore our blood stocks to healthy levels.”

The authority explained that Group O blood, the universal blood group that can also be used in emergencies by patients of any blood group, is most susceptible to fluctuations due to its high demand.

“Our collection has not been able to meet the hospitals’ usage,” it said, adding that its blood stock has run lower during the mid-year school holiday period, with the daily number of units of blood donated “well below” the number of blood units utilised.

“This shortage is worsened by long weekends. Without adequate blood donation, we risk having insufficient blood to meet the needs of critically ill patients in all our hospitals,” said HSA.

Last year, the number of young blood donors aged 16 to 25 fell by 10 per cent, even as the overall number of donors went up.

In 2021, youth constituted 20 per cent of all donors, compared to 33 per cent in 2011.

The Singapore Red Cross expressed concern then, noting that getting more donors to start young was crucial to ensure the sustainability of blood supply for both emergencies and patients who require regular transfusion. It cited the Covid-19 pandemic as a factor in the decline of young blood donor numbers in 2022, and emphasised that it was crucial to constantly increase the pool of donors.

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