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Professor Benjamin Ong, Chairman, Health Sciences Authority (HSA)
Mr Tan Kai Hoe, Chairman, Singapore Red Cross
Dr Mimi Choong, CEO, HSA
Mr Benjamin William, Secretary General/CEO, Singapore Red Cross 
Champion Blood Donors
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Good morning. It brings me great joy to be with you today as we celebrate World Blood Donor Day.
2. The theme for this year’s World Blood Donor Day celebration is “Champions in the Community”. Today, we gather to recognise the accomplishments of 1,961 champion donors and 23 blood champion organisations for their remarkable contributions to ensure the sustainability of Singapore’s blood supply.
3. Being able to donate blood is truly a privilege. I realised this from my first successful donation in April this year after not meeting the required haemoglobin level for my previous attempts. I am proud to call myself a blood donor and I am heartened by all our donors who responded to the call to donate blood and who do so regularly. You have inspired me to continue my blood donation journey and to become a regular donor myself.
Blood Usage in Singapore
4. Blood demand will rise with Singapore’s rapidly ageing population. Singapore citizens aged 65 and above now constitute almost one-fifth of our population, compared with 11.7% from a decade ago. A study conducted by the Health Sciences Authority on blood usage revealed that patients aged 60 and above accounted for 60% of the blood usage. As an individual ages, the likelihood of requiring a blood transfusion increases due to higher susceptibility to anaemia and the development of multiple comorbidities.
5. Cancer has emerged as a significant contributor to blood usage, constituting 10% of the total blood usage in Singapore. Patients with cancer may require blood transfusion due to anaemia from the cancer itself or from treatment. The incidence of cancer has been steadily rising over the last 50 years and with our ageing population, this trend is expected to continue in the future. In addition, patients with hereditary anaemia account for the highest blood usage per patient. Patients with thalassemia for example, rely on blood transfusions every three to four weeks to maintain their health.
Efforts to Grow Blood Donor Pool 
6. It is critical to ensure a sustainable and stable blood supply. To achieve this, we need donors to donate regularly at least twice a year, not forgetting the long weekends as well as festive and school holiday periods when donations tend to drop. We also need more donors to step forward and donate during the weekdays, to ensure a consistent blood supply throughout the week.
7. Since 2011, HSA has established five Bloodbanks across Singapore, the fifth one being Bloodbank@One Punggol, opened in August last year. These Bloodbanks are strategically located near donors’ residences, workplaces, and educational institutions. This approach has proven successful, with the Bloodbanks contributing 86% of the total blood collection in 2023.  I am pleased to share that since the launch of the ‘Adopt a Bloodbank’ initiative last year, 17 organisations have come onboard and adopted the Bloodbanks.
8. The Singapore Red Cross also collaborates closely with partners, including uniformed groups, civic organisations, schools and corporations, to advocate blood donation and organise blood drives. Notable organisers such as Bishan Community Club and ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd go the extra mile to champion blood donation. Bishan CC organised a blood drive on the eve of Chinese New Year in 2023 and 2024 ahead of the expected dip in collection during festive seasons. I think this is a tip that I will remember and maybe organise it in my own CC. ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd has built up a committed organising committee and volunteer-led team to run blood drives over the last few decades.
New Initiative by Singapore Red Cross: YouthInspired
9. While we presently enjoy a healthy blood supply, the future of Singapore’s blood supply is not assured. The active involvement of today’s youth is pivotal in ensuring the sustainability of our future blood supply. Over the last decade, the percentage of youth donors in our donor pool has declined by half, from 31% in 2013 to 15% in 2023. This trend underscores the pressing need to actively engage and involve our youths in blood donation.
10. Therefore I am delighted to announce the launch of YouthInspired, an initiative aimed at involving and educating young individuals on the vital role of blood donation in saving lives. Geared towards youths aged 16 to 25, members of YouthInspired will have the opportunity to build connections, organise events and campaigns, and participate in meaningful volunteer work to champion blood donation. Our goal is to engage 500 youths over the next five years. Through the collective efforts of YouthInspired, we aspire to increase the youth donor pool to 25% from the current 15% by 2030.
11. One of the key campaigns which YouthInspired will be taking part in later this year is the Asia Pacific Youth Blood Donation Marathon. We successfully engaged students from 14 universities in Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea when it was held two years ago. This year, more countries and Institutes of Higher Learning will be participating. With the active participation of YouthInspired, Singapore will play a more prominent role in promoting the campaign.
12. By partnering youths from different countries, we aim to create a global network of advocates for blood donation, amplifying the impact of awareness campaigns and initiatives. Our aim is to cultivate a sense of global citizenship and empathy, nurturing a spirit of cooperation and mutual support within our community in addressing healthcare challenges related to blood supply and donation.
13. We have lined up many exciting initiatives to promote blood donation. Their success hinges on community support. We must come together and embrace this crucial cause, knowing that our neighbours, friends, or loved ones may one day depend on this life-saving gift. Thank you for being the champions in the community. Let’s continue to donate, spread the word and inspire more to join this life-saving mission. Thank you.

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