SINGAPORE: During a casual weekend stroll through his neighbourhood more than two decades ago, Mr Zohair Mohsinally stumbled upon a blood donation drive at Bedok Community Centre.
Feeling curious, Mr Zohair put his name down. “At that time, I was a so-called bachelor, and I didn’t have anything to do,” the 51-year-old told Channel NewsAsia over the phone. “I just wanted to see what the experience was like.”
The manager of a local printing firm discovered that he enjoyed the experience of mingling with donors and nurses while giving blood. “That’s when I decided to continue donating,” he added.
During subsequent donations to the Bloodbank on Outram Road, Mr Zohair was informed that he had the rare Rh negative blood, which is the only type of blood Rh negative patients can receive.
According to the Singapore Red Cross (SRC), only 1.5 per cent of Singapore’s blood donor pool are Rh negative donors. Less than one per cent of Singapore’s population have Rh negative blood, which is more commonly found in Caucasians and Singaporean Indians.
“When I realised my blood group was a rare group, I just wanted to continue donating for as long as I can,” he said. “If people can benefit from it, why not?”
Mr Zohair tries to donate blood at least thrice a year and urged the younger generation to do the same. “Our population is growing older, and there will be a time where more and more people will need the blood,” he said.
MISSING TYPE CAMPAIGN
The blood donor pool stands at 1.87 per cent of Singapore’s residential population, or 73,587 people. However, some 600 regular donors stop donating due to age-related illnesses every year, SRC said.
In addition, an estimated 118,750 units of blood are needed this year – or about 325 units daily – to meet blood transfusion needs.
“They should bring this awareness of blood donation to the masses, especially the younger groups in the universities,” Mr Zohair added.
To achieve that, SRC and the Health Sciences Authority brought back the Missing Type Campaign, where names like BreadTalk, The Soup Spoon and Carousell removed the blood type letters A, B and O from their signage and branding.
Last year’s inaugural campaign led to a 16 per cent increase in blood donations in the launch month when compared to the same period the year before, SRC secretary general Benjamin William said.
While the latest figures for this year’s edition have not been released, SRC said 79 organisations participated this time round, a more than two-fold increase from the 33 participating organisations last year.
Mr William said: “We hope that (the campaign) not only serves as a reminder for donors to make a second trip to the blood bank, but also acts as a catalyst to start the conversation about blood donation and motivate new donors to action.”