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July 21 23:13

KUALA LUMPUR, The National Blood Centre (PDN) needs blood supply, which is now at a critical level, following the increase in the number of dengue cases in the country.
PDN's acquisition department medical expert Dr Noorasrina Ishak said the centre had to look for more blood supply to meet the needs over the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festivity period as its current stock of blood platelets needed for
dengue fever patients could only sustain for five days.
"Platelets are blood cells which flow in the blood vessels and help to stop bleeding. In the case of dengue fever, the platelet count drops and could cause bleeding and risk of death," she said when contacted by Bernama here.
As such, increasing the platelet count could regenerate the blood cells and help the patient recover.
She said the public often considered blood donation as only involving the transfer of red blood cells but in actual fact, there were two other components - platelets and plasma.
"Red blood cells are usually used in cases of lack of haemoglobin such as kidney disease and cancer.
"Platelets are also needed for patients suffering from dengue fever and leukemia while plasma is needed in case of bleeding during childbirth, burns and bleeding due to liver failure," she said.
She said blood collected by the centre had a fixed expiry date. For instance red blood cells could last for 42 days, platelets (five days), and plasma (thee years). As such the PDN was looking for new donors to replace the
blood stock.
She said the centre conducted various campaigns to ensure the supply of the three components was sufficient.
"We cannot rely on existing stock, which is why we are holding campaigns to ask the public to continue donating blood," she said.
Its campaign "Donors introduce friends to donate blood" began on July 5.
Meanwhile the centre would be opened until 9pm during Ramadan to give time to Muslim donors who were fasting.
"It is not wrong to donate while fasting but many do not have the opportunity due to time constraint," she said.
She hoped the awareness for the need to donate blood would increase so that Malaysia would have at least 1.4 million permanent donors to meet the five percent set by the World Health Organisation as a developed nation.