Healthcare Society

Keep the Blood Flowing

  • A wide shot of two males in surgical masks propped up on recliner beds, placing light pressure on the crevices of their elbows, while a female in surgical mask flashes two thumbs up in between them

    With supplies at a critical level, blood donation is now more essential than ever.

Healthcare Society
  • Malaysia has been hit by yet another health crisis amidst the pandemic – an insufficient supply of blood in hospitals for patients in need.
  • Sunway has been actively calling for blood donors to come forward and help where possible, maintaining supplies for blood banks across the nation.

Recently, the National Blood Centre (PDN) made a desperate plea for the public to come forward and donate blood as supplies were dangerously low. Statistics revealed that , which could be attributed to the surge in daily COVID-19 cases. While reduced traffic on the road means fewer incidents and lower need for emergency surgical procedures, patients with conditions who require regular blood transfusions or medical attention are at risk.

A close-up of fresh blood being drawn out via a catherer from a donor’s right arm during the process of blood donation

Malaysia has been facing a blood shortage due to many preferring to stay home to stay safe.

Aside from lending support for the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, Sunway also actively contributes to various health matters such as this one.

As a leading healthcare provider with plans to expand its healthcare services throughout Malaysia, Sunway has been instrumental in ensuring our blood banks do not run dry through the various efforts not just during the pandemic, but throughout the years.

Raising awareness and driving public participation

Every drop counts.

At the onset of the surge of COVID-19 cases, people have been less inclined to donate blood, causing blood banks to drop to a critical level.

Associate Professor Dr. Lim Ren Jye, medical director and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consultant at Sunway TCM Centre, shares that they work closely with blood banks in Malaysia and Sunway Medical Centre (SMC) for their drives, and consistently adhere to good social distancing for everyone’s safety. By doing so, Sunway TCM Centre was able to carry out two blood donation campaigns successfully at Sunway Geo Avenue this year.

A bird’s eye view of the various stations of the blood donation drive organised by Sunway TCM Centre at Sunway Geo Avenue

Blood donation drive by Sunway TCM Centre held in Sunway Geo Avenue.

H.C Chan, chief executive officer of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks shares that the malls actively work with PDN and healthcare facilities such as University Malaya Medical Centre (PPUM) and local hospitals across Klang Valley, Penang and Johor to provide a safe, conducive and comfortable venue for the donation drives, in line with UN-SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being.

A mid-wide shot of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks’ chief executive officer, H.C Chan.

H.C Chan, chief executive officer of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks.

“Prior to the pandemic, we had several blood donation drives in our malls with encouraging response. The pandemic has accelerated the efforts of the blood bank to replenish blood supply which had fallen to a critical level due to the lockdown. Efforts have been ramped up since the first MCO with blood donation drives organised almost every month. This has resulted in Sunway Malls achieving our collective target of 10,000 blood donations in total over the past one and a half years,” he explains.

Recliner beds placed in safe distances from one another to ensure that the blood donation drive is in compliance with SOP

Social distancing measures are observed, and donors are required to wear masks at all times.

In order to encourage greater participation, the drives were strategically placed at prominent spots such as grocery store entrances to make it more convenient for shoppers to donate.

A wide shot of stations of a blood donation drive located at indoor high traffic areas such as opposite hypermarkets

Blood donation drives are held close to essential item stores to make it more convenient for donors.

Donating blood after vaccination

As most of the nation gears towards widespread vaccination coverage, Dr. Lim shares that the notion of donors not being allowed to donate blood after getting vaccinated is not true.

“You do not need to have completed two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination in order to donate blood, and you can actually do so seven days after vaccination if you do not experience any side effects from the shot. If you do have symptoms however, you are able to donate seven days after that,” he clarifies.

Donating blood for the first time? Here’s what you need to know

There are several factors that first timers should consider and keep in mind:

1. Between 17 – 65 years old.
2. Weigh 45 kg and above.
3. Have no chronic medical illness.
4. No alcohol 24 hours prior to donation.
5. Not fasting, pregnant, menstruating or breastfeeding.
6. No multiple sexual partners.
7. Had more than five hours of sleep the night before, a good breakfast or lunch and drink plenty of water.
8. Wear loose-fitting clothes with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.
9. Allocate some rest time after donation to ensure there are no signs of dizziness, nausea or pallor before leaving.

A mid shot of a Muslim female wearing surgical mask handing over boxed beverage and packet of muffin to a female blood donor after the session

Snacks and drinks are provided immediately after the session to replenish the fluids lost during the donation.

Chan Si Yan, senior manager and pharmacist from Sunway TCM Centre assures first timers that the procedure is generally not painful as medical staff will administer local anaesthetic at the donation site. Snacks and drinks will be provided to donors immediately after donating to replenish their strength.

“After donating, eat iron-rich food or iron supplements and remember to rehydrate with water and fluids within the next 12 hours to replenish fluid loss during the donation. Do avoid strenuous physical activity on the day – if bleeding or bruising occurs under the skin after removing the bandage, apply a cold pack to the area and apply pressure to the site,” she shares.

Sunway folk give blood to give back

Realising the dire need to keep the National Blood Bank going, SMC has conducted two blood donation drives for their employees – once in September last year and February this year which saw a total of 101 employees pitch in.

A wide shot of a number of blood donors dressed in nurse uniforms all propped up on recliner beds during a blood donation drive organised within SunMed Convention Centre

SMC employees took the initiative to donate blood as well.

One of the donors, Ms. Sherry Woo, director for allied health services at SMC shared that the current situation has made it more apparent that they needed to do their part.

A tight medium shot of Sunway Medical Centre’s director for allied health services, Sherry Woo

Ms. Sherry Woo wants to help as many as possible through healthcare, including blood donation.

“Being able to help someone is the reason why I chose to be in healthcare. Blood donation saves lives and by doing so, it serves a greater purpose. Being able to donate blood is also a privilege… Hence, I urge everyone to step forward and do your part, it is not as scary as you think,” said Ms. Sherry Woo.

Sr Alice Lee, assistant director of nursing for nursing administration, EMR Project, A&E and allied health nursing at SMC stressed that it was important for staff to be aware that blood is lifesaving during emergencies, to sustain patients’ lives and those undergoing major surgeries.

A medium shot of Sunway Medical Centre’s assistant director of nursing for nursing administration, EMR Project, A&E and allied health nursing, Sr Alice Lee

Sr Alice Lee stresses the importance of SMC staff participation in helping to save lives.

“Blood donors are patients’ lifeline, and this contribution is a vital service to the community. Making a difference in the lives of others can boost a donor’s sense of psychological wellbeing too. Personally, I have a high red blood cell count. Hence, it benefits me to donate than to waste it when the cells need to be renewed every few months,” shares Sr. Alice Lee.

Giving where we can, sharing because we care

Sunway acknowledges that the fight to keep our healthcare system resilient is not one that can be done alone, and all Malaysians can contribute to catalyse greater impact.

A tight medium shot of Sunway Healthcare Group’s managing director, Lau Beng Long.

Sunway Healthcare Group’s managing director, Lau Beng Long.

“Supporting the nation’s healthcare system and delivering excellent medical outcome is our main focus, and we intend to touch more lives through our holistic offerings and efforts throughout our various communities. While we are faced with many challenges especially in the past year and a half, we will overcome with the help of our fellow Malaysians and our belief that we can achieve so much more together. Therefore, I would like to encourage more Malaysians to help and donate where they can, so we are able to provide the best care for those who need it most.” – Mr. Lau Beng Long, managing director, Sunway Healthcare Group.

For more information or to sign up as a blood donor, visit the National Blood Centre’s website or stay tuned to any Sunway Malls’ and Healthcare Group social media channels for announcements on upcoming blood donation drives.


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