Fewer youths donating blood in Singapore amid growing demand

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The number of youth donors decreased by 13 per cent between 2012 and 2016, says the Health Sciences Authority.

File photo of someone donating blood. (Photo: AFP/Ed Jones)

SINGAPORE: Fewer young people aged between 16 and 25 are donating blood, with the number of youth donors decreasing by 13 per cent between 2012 and 2016.

According to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), more than 73,000 people donated blood last year, contributing blood to around 30,000 patients. Of these, 19,868 donors were aged between 16 and 25 – a drop from the 22,673 donors in 2012.

This is amid the backdrop of growing demand, with blood usage increasing at an annual rate of 3 to 5 per cent – a demand compounded by a rapidly ageing population, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at an event commemorating World Blood Donor Day on Saturday (Jun 10).

“On one hand, an ageing population means blood demands will increase. The elderly are more likely to develop age-related medical diseases,” said Mr Gan.

“On the other hand, our blood donor pool may shrink, as regular donors can no longer give blood if ill health strikes when they get older.”

He added that an average of 600 regular donors stop donating blood each year due to age-related illnesses, and urged more people to step forward to give blood.

Currently, Singapore’s need for blood is being met by 1.8 per cent of the residential population, HSA said. 

Saturday’s event, which was organised by the National Blood Programme – jointly run by Singapore Red Cross and HSA – also recognised a total of 1,257 individuals for their regular blood contributions. These included 13 people who supplied blood on more than 200 occasions.

To encourage more youths to give blood regularly, the National Blood Programme plans to continue its outreach efforts. Such efforts include its Missing Type Campaign launched last year, which saw more than 60 organisations remove the letters A, B and O from their branding – resulting in a 16 per cent increase in blood donations the month it was launched.

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