Blood Donors Honoured and Youth Club Launched on World Blood Donor Day

Singapore, 29 June 2024 – On World Blood Donor Day, the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and Health Sciences Authority (HSA) recognised 1,961 committed blood donors and 23 blood champion organisations for their pivotal role in saving lives and their continuous support for the National Blood Programme. The theme of this year’s event was “Champions in the Community”. The Awards were presented by Guest of Honour Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Minister of State (MOS), Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Health, in the morning, and by Special Guest Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar GRC Dr Wan Rizal bin Wan Zakariah in the afternoon, at a ceremony held at Marina Bay Sands.

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Singapore’s demand for blood is ever increasing due to an ageing population and more advanced therapies requiring blood transfusion support. Residents aged 65 and above now constitute almost 20% of Singapore’s population. The likelihood of requiring blood transfusion increases with age as individuals become more susceptible to anaemia and as they develop multiple comorbidities. A study conducted by the HSA on blood usage revealed that patients aged 60 and above accounted for 60% of the blood usage.

YouthInspired – A Youth Donor Club

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To ensure the sustainability of the nation’s blood supply, the SRC is engaging Singapore’s youths to make blood donation part of their lifestyle. During the ceremony, MOS Rahayu launched the YouthInspired initiative, which encouraged youths aged 16 to 25 to support the National Blood Programme. Through building connections, organising events and campaigns, and participating in volunteer work to champion blood donations, the SRC hopes the collective efforts of YouthInspired would increase the youth donor pool to 25% by 2030. YouthInspired aims to engage 500 youths over the next five years through youth dialogue sessions and programmes to drive conversations on blood donation, empowering them to recruit their peers to join them on this inspiring life-saving journey. Youth can email to register their interest. 

Four of the inaugural members of YouthInspired shared, “The initiative is  a great platform for youth with shared vision and purpose, and a true heart for volunteering, to come together to share experiences as ambassadors of blood donation. Having the opportunity to find our community and meet other youth who would assist us in our journey, was just an offer we could not pass up. We hope to gain more insights about how blood donation events and programmes are run so that we may be able to host one and inspire many other youths like us.”

Community partnerships a bedrock of the National Blood Programme

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SRC Chairman Mr Tan Kai Hoe said in his speech, “Our community partners share their networks and resources, enhancing the success and effectiveness of our blood mobilisation. Besides organising blood mobiles and group donations at the blood banks, these partner-organisations also volunteer their time, support the logistics of blood collection, and promote the significance of blood donation by rallying people to donate blood. Their passion and dedication towards blood donation make them true champions of this lifesaving cause.”

At the award ceremony, 13 community partners, including ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, Myanmar Volunteer Family, and Micron Technology, received the Blood Champion Gold Awards for collecting more than 350 units of blood; and 10 partners, such as KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Changi Airport Recreation Club and Taman Jurong Community Club, received the Blood Champion Silver Awards for collecting more than 150 units of blood. 

Cancer a significant contributor of blood usage

Cancer has become a significant contributor to blood usage, constituting 10% of the total blood usage in Singapore. Patients may require blood transfusions due to anaemia from the cancer itself or from treatment. With the rising incidence of cancer over the last 50 years and an ageing population, this trend is expected to persist in the future.

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Sharing her story at the Ceremony was Ms Charmaine Seah-Ong. Her daughter Charlie Rose Ong was diagnosed with acute leukaemia at 8 years old in 2022. She said, “Due to her low platelet count, platelet transfusion became crucial in boosting her platelet levels. Charlie received three bags of lifesaving red cells and two bags of apheresis platelets during her treatment. This had given her a lifeline. Charlie is now 10 years old, in remission and is living her best life. On behalf of my family, I wish to thank all blood donors for your gift of life and for giving hope to countless others facing similar medical challenges.”

This year’s event also saw 4,000 blood donors and their families enjoy fun activities, including a blood donation exhibition. About 230 donors donated blood at the event, in a large-scale blood drive.

Annex A

Award Category Number of Donations Male Female Total
Medal for Life F: 150
M: 200
31 2 33
Titanium F: 135
M: 175
23 2 25
Champion of Champions F: 125
M: 150
32 2 34
Diamond F: 100
M: 125
41 12 53
Gold F: 70
M: 100
81 28 109
Ruby F: 50
M: 75
131 56 187
Silver F: 35
M: 50
261 124 385
Bronze F: 25
M: 25
816 283 1,099
YOUTHphoria F: 20
M: 20
32 4 36
Blood Champion (Gold) Organisational partners who, through organising blood donation drives, achieved a total collection of more than 350 units of blood with an average collection of 100 units per drive
Blood Champion (Merit) Organisational partners who, through organising blood donation drives, achieved a total collection of more than 150 units of blood with an average collection of 75 units per drive

Annex B

About the National Blood Programme

Since 1947, the National Blood Programme (previously the Singapore Blood Transfusion Service) has sought to ensure that all patients in Singapore, regardless of nationality and residential status, have access to a safe and sufficient blood supply when they need it. 

The Health Sciences Authority and the Singapore Red Cross (which was appointed the national blood recruiter in April 2001) work in partnership to collect blood from donors on a voluntary, non-remunerated basis. Each year, more than 118,000 units of blood are needed to save lives. 

In 2023, 122,668 units of donation blood were used to benefit more than 31,700 patients in Singapore as follows:

  • Surgery (including trauma and heart surgery): 39%
  • General medicine: 32%
  • Haematology (blood diseases): 10%
  • Oncology: 10%
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology: 5%  
  • Others: 6%

To meet the annual blood transfusion needs, the Singapore Red Cross focuses on three main functions:

  • Recruitment and retention of blood donors
  • Promotion and education on the importance of blood donations to increase public awareness
  • Organisation of mobile blood donation drives in the community

In 2023, the Singapore Red Cross recruited 77,424 donors with the support of community partners.

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Photos by Lai Wei Song & James Tan, volunteer photographers