Youth Voices: Information on blood donor eligibility and costs could be better disseminated

I’ve seen a few public appeals for blood donors recently as supplies ran out. As a regular donor myself, I think the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) can do better to educate people about donor eligibility.

First, donors who meet minimum hemoglobin levels are allowed to make an early donation 10 weeks after their last donation instead of waiting the usual 12 weeks for a whole blood donation.

Repeat donors, walk-in donors, and those calling HSA blood banks for eligibility information are advised of the shorter window.

Frequent donors and those who donate earlier are tested to make sure they have enough iron in their bodies.

But many donors who qualify to donate early don’t know they’re eligible to donate and postpone their visit, even if blood bank supplies run out.

Second, many believe that donor requirements are too strict. A common misconception is that people with tattoos cannot donate blood. People can in fact donate blood 12 months after having a non-sterile piercing or tattoo.

Information can be found on the AZ Eligibility List on the HSA website.

Third, some question the cost of blood transfusions in hospitals. They feel that their donation, an altruistic act, is being used for profit.

Authorities could assure the public that the costs of blood products in hospitals are not marked up, as there are many costs involved in collecting, testing, separating and storing blood.

I hope more people will volunteer to donate blood when the blood bank runs out and supplies soon return to healthy levels.

Teo Chen Wei20

1st year of license

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