The National Blood Transfusion Centre (NBTC) of Cambodia had an extra special reason to celebrate this year’s World Blood Donor Day, which marked its 13th edition on 14 June.
Having been confined to an aging structure not designed for large-scale blood bank operations for nearly three decades in Phnom Penh, the NBTC officially opened its new state-of-the-art facility next to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship hospital the same day.
The importance of a well-stocked blood bank in helping save the lives of patients in critical conditions can never be understated, with the NBTC responsible for providing around 65 percent of the Kingdom’s blood requirements.
An initiative from the NBTC and the Ministry of Health, with support from development partners, also helped construct two Provincial Blood Transfusion Centers in Kampong Cham and Siem Reap. Two additional centres in Takeo and Battambang are currently under development.
Blood transfusions are needed for a variety of medical emergencies, including complications during pregnancy, tropical diseases such as malaria or dengue fever, severe trauma from accidents, complex medical and surgical procedures, treating cancer patients, and chronic kidney disease.
Cambodia suffers from an inadequate supply of safe blood, which can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary, unpaid blood donors.
Currently, only 1 out of every 244 Cambodian donates blood. The World Health Organisation recommends that 1 in every 100 of the population need to donate blood every year to meet the national needs of patients.
In Cambodia, 70% of the blood supply still depends on family or replacement donors, while only 30% comes from a voluntary, unpaid donor. These voluntary, unpaid donors are the safest type because statistics show the prevalence of blood-borne infections (eg. HIV, hepatitis and syphilis) is lowest amongst them.
Many more donors are needed to meet the NBTC’s ambitious target of 100% voluntary blood donations by 2020.
You can donate blood between the ages of 18 to 60, with 350ml collected at any one time—enough to save up to three lives. Blood can be donated every three months for a man and every four months for a woman without risk to health.
Events organised by the NBTC aim to highlight stories of people whose lives have been saved through blood donation as a way of motivating regular donors to continue giving blood, and to encourage people in good health who have never given blood to begin doing so, particularly youngsters.
For more information on how to give blood, call 092 998 000 or 093 998 000, or visit the NBTC at Yothapol Khemarak Phoumin Blvd (Street 271, corner of Street 187).