Burma

Shortage of Blood Donations Highlighted on World Blood Donor Day

By Marie Starr 14 June 2019

YANGON—Survey findings released ahead of World Blood Donor Day on June 14 have shown a “high number” of people in Myanmar believe the blood donation process to be too complicated or risky to get involved in. The findings come at a time when Myanmar’s national blood bank says it is around 100 liters short of blood required by patients every day—the equivalent of 600 blood transfusions.

As part of their campaign to drive up the number blood donations in Myanmar, Synapse Original conducted a survey which found many are not aware of the online donation booking facilities or how little time it takes to donate—just 15 minutes.

The survey results were released on Thursday in a statement alongside some startling blood-related facts: one in four of us will need a blood transfusion some time in our lives; each donation of 450 milliliters can be used to perform up to three blood transfusions; and most of the National Blood Center’s blood goes to Yangon Children’s Hospital.

Researchers who spoke to Dr. Thiha Aung, deputy director and head of the National Blood Center in Yangon, were told that despite the ongoing undersupply of blood, there has been an improvement in the outreach of donations in recent years.

“Two years ago, we could only support half of Yangon’s public hospitals. Today, we support 12 out of the 16 major hospitals in Yangon,” she said.

“This is including the Yangon Children’s Hospital, one of our main beneficiaries.”

Donors can make an appointment by going to the blood donation drive website, by calling 01-372753 or by going directly to the National Blood Centre located next to Junction City shopping mall on the corner of Bogyoke Aung San Road and Shwedagon Pagoda Road. There is also a mobile donation bus at Shwedagon Pagoda each evening between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Blood transfusions are used in Myanmar hospitals every day in emergency care, surgical interventions and to treat blood diseases like thalassemia and cancers like leukemia. Healthy men and women, both local and foreign, aged 18 to 55 can donate and the blood types most in demand are A, B and AB.

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