Malaysia needs more blood donors
As the blood bank levels at hospitals in the state fall with the number of blood donors decreasing during the movement control order (MCO), thalassaemia patients are now facing a shortage of supply for their monthly blood transfusions.
Abu Mansor Muhamad, 46, who receives two pints of blood (600 to 800cc) for transfusion monthly, said that he now had to cope with only one pint of blood (300 to 370cc).
“This affects my daily activity and my body tires more quickly.
“At times, I would feel very sleepy or lethargic, then I would realise that my body is telling me that I have to visit the hospital again for another round of transfusion as soon as possible.
“But this process usually takes around two days, as I would have to visit the hospital first to schedule an appointment.
“Then the hospital would fix the next available date for my transfusion as there are other patients waiting in line.
“I have been receiving half of my transfusion for almost a month now and I can really feel the difference.
“Once, I had to visit the hospital just two weeks after my monthly transfusion as my body could not cope,” he said when contacted on Sunday.
Abu Mansor said as there were not many blood donors due to the MCO, he had to reach out to family members.
“The worrying part is when Ramadan starts and then there will be even fewer donors,” he said.
Penang Thalassaemia Society president Noorasyikin Md Saad said due to the MCO, many people including regular donors who used to donate every three to four months, had failed to come forward.
“The blood banks at various hospitals here have been running low.
“And thalassaemia patients, including myself, have been receiving less blood during our monthly blood transfusion.
“Although the MCO does not restrict people from coming out to donate blood, many are afraid to leave their house and as such, the blood supply is declining,” she said when contacted on Sunday.
She added that during the fasting month, the number of donors would decline as Muslims would be fasting and would not be fit to donate blood during that time.
“At that time, the situation will be unimaginable to us, as there are 166 adults and 189 children in Penang waiting for blood transfusions on a monthly basis,” she added.
Noorasyikin said that as thalassaemia patients need regular blood transfusions to survive, they would like to appeal to the public to donate blood to help.
“Right now, government hospitals throughout Penang have set up blood donation campaigns at various centres on the island and mainland.
“If there are any companies or groups whose staff members are willing to donate, the hospitals can also send their staff members over to run a blood donation drive.
“We hope to assure the public that despite the MCO, they can travel to donate blood,” she added.
To donate blood, the public may visit the blood donation units at Penang Hospital, Hospital Seberang Jaya, Hospital Kepala Batas and Hospital Bukit Mertajam or the satellite blood donation centres at Caring Society Complex in Jalan Utama and Chai Leng Park Community Hall on the mainland.