By Balqis Jamaludin
KUALA TERENGGANU, May 27 -- It is no exaggeration to say that blood donors are unsung heroes as they are ready to donate blood whenever the blood supply in hospitals in the state reaches a critical level, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital (HSNZ) Blood Transfusion Unit head Dr Mohd Muhaimin Kambali said there were more than 3,000 regular blood donors in Terengganu who would be immediately contacted by the hospital if the blood supply was only around 300 bags.
“There was one time that the amount of blood supply available was very critical. So, we announced the blood donation drive in the WhatsApp group, which consists of regular blood donors. Also on our Telegram and Faceboook accounts, 'Derma Darah Terengganu Kite'. Soon enough, many turned up to donate blood.
“We also have a database on regular donors, that whenever the situation becomes worrying we just contact them to donate blood. That is why we are very grateful to have a very strong support group among regular donors,” he said when met by Bernama at the Movement Control Order (MCO) 3.0 blood donation drive at the State Stadium.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of MCO had forced blood donation drives in public places to be restricted, thus causing the number of donors to decrease, while blood supply was constantly needed to treat patients daily.
Therefore, the role played by regular blood donors at this time is very important in meeting the needs of the state, he said.
Dr Mohd Muhaimin also said that currently HSNZ organised the MCO 3.0 blood donation drive at the State Stadium, from 9 am to 3 pm daily, until June 8, with a target of around 30 donors a day compared with 50 people previously.
“We organised this campaign at this stadium due to the large area, to avoid the possibility of crowding. Within an hour we are only targeting up to five donors. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, donors from red zone districts are not allowed to come. This move also reduces the total blood supply received to be around 30 bags a day compared to 50 to 60 bags before,” he said.
Dr Mohd Muhaimin said HSNZ currently had more than 700 bags of blood and it could cover the use for another two or three weeks.
In fact, he said the hospital had also supplied about 200 bags of blood to Kelantan, Pahang and Johor during Ramadan and Aidilfitri as those states were facing a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.
“However, we are worried that if the COVID-19 cases in Terengganu continue to rise, we will have to allow those living in the red zone sub-district to donate blood to ensure sufficient blood supply. But we hope it won't get to that point. Hence, we ask that more residents from mukim which are not in the red zone come forward to donate blood soon,” he said.
Meanwhile, a regular blood donor, Mohamad Khalies Hami Hamzah, 37, said apart from being happy to be able to contribute to the community, his body also felt fresher every time he donated blood.
Therefore, the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu employee who has donated blood 36 times since 2006, hopes that more people will be willing to donate blood to help save the lives of others.
“Now that we are in this COVID-19 pandemic, more reason for us to donate blood, not only COVID-19 patients would need help, but also others who would need it as well such as accident victims and so on,” he said.
Another donor, private sector employee Siti Nurbaya Akma Mohd, 29, who has donated blood three times since 2014, describes donating blood as a charity act especially now that the country is placed under the MCO 3.0.
“During the implementation of this MCO, there are those who want to give alms to those in need. For me, charity is not only in the form of money but this (blood donation) is also an act of charity, for patients in the hospital,” she said.