S’pore Red Cross calls for more youths to donate blood

Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) hope to increase the number of youth donors to 35 per cent by 2014.

Youths, or those aged 16 to 25, currently make up about 30 per cent of the donor population.

The plan to increase the number was revealed at Friday’s official opening of a new satellite blood centre at Dhoby Xchange, officially opened by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Located in Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, the new blood bank’s targeting shoppers and students by making blood donation more convenient.

With the centre close to schools like the Singapore Management University, SRC plans to work with youth groups to organise public blood drives, road-shows and talks.

The Red Cross said one challenge in attracting youth donors is their lack of information about the importance of blood donation.

And as such, it is working with the Education Ministry to include the importance of blood donation in the primary school curriculum.

The first satellite blood donation centre opened in Woodlands in 2011.

HSA said the Bloodbank@Woodlands contributed 10 per cent of the total blood collection last year. And that almost 90 per cent of the donors are repeat donors, most of whom have visited the centre at least twice to donate blood.

And there are plans to open three more of such centres in the east and west of Singapore.

HSA’s group director for Blood Services Group, Dr Diana Teo, said: “It’s actually all about convenience. Convenience in having a comfortable place to donate blood at. What we want to do is make it easily accessible so people can just meet each other, donate blood, and then maybe go for coffee, tea or dinner.”

Blood donor Elias Ye said: “The location is actually more important. Being at Dhoby Ghaut – located in town – means you shop halfway and you see the blood donation centre and you actually might be reminded that actually it’s time for you to donate blood.”

This article was first published in CNA