SINGAPORE: With an ageing population and more sophisticated medical procedures, demand for blood in Singapore has risen by 4 per cent over the last five years.
There have been instances when blood stocks have dipped to critical levels, which means the country has less than a six-day stockpile. When this happens, elective surgeries will have to be postponed to conserve the blood stocks for lifesaving emergencies.
With a fifth bloodbank officially opened on Thursday (Aug 17) in Punggol, agencies are hoping more people will come forward to donate blood – only 1.8 per cent of Singapore’s population do so.
Why has demand for blood risen and what happens when blood stocks hit low or critical levels?
RISE IN DEMAND FOR BLOOD
There has been an increase in demand for blood over the past five years, from 110,823 units in 2018 to 115,794 units last year.
Blood is required by patients daily, not just for those with bleeding from injuries or surgeries, but also for those with blood disorders or other medical conditions.
About 54 per cent of Singapore’s blood usage goes to surgery, including heart surgery, while 31 per cent is used for general medicine. About 9 per cent is estimated to be used by patients with blood diseases, while 6 per cent is used in accidents and emergencies.
About 14 units of blood are required every hour in Singapore, which is about 325 units a day or 118,750 units a year, according to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).