Each year, Indonesia falls one million blood bags short of meeting its emergency medical needs due to a severe lack of volunteer blood donors. (Antara Photo/Rahmad)

Indonesia Faces Worrying Lack of Blood Donors

JULY 11, 2017

[Updated at 11.21 p.m. on Tuesday (11/07) to correct the World Blood Donor Day reference]

Jakarta. Each year, Indonesia falls one million blood bags short of meeting its emergency medical needs due to a severe lack of volunteer blood donors.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that a country of Indonesia's size should see 2 percent of its population – or 5.1 million of the country's total population of 250 million – donate blood to ensure sufficient supplies for transfusions in emergency and non-emergency situations.

However, the Southeast Asian country only manages to collect 4.1 million blood bags annually.

"We must encourage [more] donors to give blood, because there is no [synthetic] replacement for it; it can not be made in a chemistry lab," Health Minister Nila Djuwita Moeloek said on Tuesday (11/07).

Nila has called on workers in the health sector to set examples for their local communities by donating blood.

Currently, 90 percent of available blood for use in transfusions comes from voluntary donations, the minister said.

A lack of available blood at healthcare facilities comes with dire consequences. According to estimates from the Ministry of Health, excess bleeding is the immediate cause of around 28 percent of all maternal deaths in the country.

The ministry believes additional blood bags would help lower that figure, as nearly 359 out of 100,000 women die in childbirth.

Nila said the ministry will launch a campaign this week to focus on blood donations, dubbed "What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often," to raise awareness about the issue. The campaign will also commemorate World Blood Donor Day, which falls on June 14.

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