The Kingdom’s third annual Valentine’s Day blood drive yielded more than twice as many donations as last year, according to Dr Koh Kim Chen, director of the National Blood Transfusion Centre, although misconceptions among Cambodians about blood donation still persist.
The first year of the drive, 2014, saw a yield of 260 bags of blood, while last year’s donations dropped down to 160, with each bag containing 350 millilitres.
“In 2016, we did a huge campaign and got 399 bags and there were more than 600 visitors,” Kim Chen said yesterday, noting that 67 per cent of those that donate are between 18 and 30 years old.
However, “there are not many people who donate blood, because they have no experience and little education” on the matter, Kim Chen continued.
“Most Cambodian people misunderstand that donating blood is bad for their health, but this [perception] is changing slowly through public and peer education,” he said, explaining that it is safe for men to donate up to four times per year and women three times per year so long as they are in good health and meet minimum requirements.
“In Cambodia, we need 150 bags of blood per day,” Kim Chen said, adding that only half that demand is met, requiring patients to often rely on friends and family.