Petaling Jaya, May 5 (BNA) -- The health ministry (MOH) has appealed to the public to donate blood to ensure blood banks in hospitals are sufficiently stocked, especially during the festive seasons.
Medical Development Deputy Director Dr Nor Akma Yusoff said blood supplies usually dropped in hospitals during festive seasons, such as the upcoming fasting month of Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid Al Fitr).
"It is crucial that we have sustainable supply of blood available in hospitals for blood-related diseases to enable patients to continue blood transfusion," she said at the launch of a blood donation drive in conjunction with World Thalassemia Day, Bernama, the Malaysian news agency, reported.
As of last year, there were 338,000 Thalassemia cases, she said, adding that two per cent of them were transfusion-dependent Thalassemia patients who required blood transfusion of at least two units, every two to four weeks.
"This number is expected to increase by up to 120 new cases of transfusion-dependent patients every year. In view of this, MOH has taken several steps at various stages to improve the situation, including a national screening programme for Thalassemia for form four students nationwide," she added.
World Thalassemia Day is celebrated every May 8 to increase public awareness on the genetic blood disorder whose symptoms are invisible.
As of 2015, a total of 704,054 bags of blood were collected, which saw an increase of 4.2 per cent to indicate more Malaysians are participating in blood donation.
Nevertheless, Dr Nor Akma said overall, the total number of people becoming regular blood donors still stood at two per cent - a figure which was relatively low compared with the number of regular blood donors in developed countries.
"With the involvement of private bodies, MOH expects the number of regular donors to increase to five per cent this year," she said.