KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — Blood supply nationwide decreased by 40 per cent during the Movement Control Order (MCO) compared to the same period in earlier years, health authorities said today.
In March 2018 through May 2018, a total of 111,328 bags of blood were collected at the National Blood Centre and blood banks throughout the country, dropping to 67,135 bags from March to May this year during the nationwide lockdown amid the Covid-19 epidemic.
“The alarming decline in blood collection is very worrying because public hospitals have begun operations, including surgical procedures. This will cause an increase of an average of 9,000 bags of blood a week to 13,076 bags,” said Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement today.
“Blood transfusion is a crucial component in treating victims of accidents, pregnant women who suffer from bleeding complications, premature babies, cancer and thalassemia patients, as well as patients who undergo major surgery.”
He also pointed out that traffic accidents with victims requiring hospitalisation increased by 5 per cent to 10 per cent during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).
Blood donations only hit 60 per cent of the target during the MCO from March 18 to May 3, while only 57 per cent of the target was reached during the CMCO from May 4 till now, despite various promotional activities by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Dr Noor Hisham emphasised the need for constant blood supply as blood is an essential need in a health care system.
“The rate of blood usage from March 18 to May 3, 2020 has been decreased. This may be due to the reduction in the rate of road accidents victims receiving treatment in hospitals from 60 to 70 per cent,” said Dr. Noor Hisham.
He urged the public to come forward and donate blood in the National Blood Centre and other blood banks in the country, even as he noted that blood donations are typically low ahead of the Hari Raya celebration and other incoming festivals.
“The operation hours in the National Blood Centre and other blood banks have been extended until 9pm throughout the month of Ramadan for the convenience of the public to donate blood after breaking their fast,” said the DG.