The Ramadhan effect – more blood donors needed!

It seems that the reduced number of donors during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan leaves the blood bank in Singapore a critical state after several bleeding emergencies.

This must mean that in Singapore, our Muslim friends represent a significant number of blood donors. How generous of them!

This Ramadhan shortage is also felt in Muslim countries such as Iran, Kuwait, Indonesia and Malaysia. Click the links to read the news articles in each country.

I was chatting with an ex-leukemia patient recently who told me about the difficult times she experienced when blood stocks were low. She and her fellow patients laboured through those difficult times and were relieved when things returned to normal.

Now free of the disease, she is grateful, for her afflicted friends have left this earth while she lives. But she is unable to play a role to donate as she has very low levels of haemoglobin still.

I am surprised at the number of my friends who are unable to donate as they struggle with anaemia, a past hepatits infection, or other health reasons. They are willing and eager and have the right heart for the task. But are unable.

So its time for the rest of us to step up. I can only donate next in October, so let me cheer you on while you give this a shot – Remember the Ramadhan effect and donate blood generously!

“More blood donors needed,” Channel News Asia, 18 August 2011.

“SINGAPORE: The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) are calling on O and A blood donors to come forward to donate blood within this week and the next.

In a statement, both agencies said the recent increased hospital utilisation caused by several bleeding emergencies, and reduced support for corporate blood mobiles due to the fasting month, have resulted in a slow recovery of the daily blood supply.

In view of the upcoming long weekend, SRC and HSA aim to ramp up the current blood stocks to meet the daily transfusion needs of patients as well as for bleeding emergencies.

In Singapore, more than 350 units are needed daily to meet the transfusion needs of patients in hospitals.

All healthy individuals between 16 and 60 years, weighing at least 45 kilogrammes, can donate.

Donors who have not made a donation in the past 12 weeks are encouraged to donate as well.

Blood donations can be made at:

Bloodbank@HSA, located at 11 Outram Road (opposite Outram Park MRT station).
Opening hours are as follows:

  • Tuesdays to Thursdays: 9:00am to 6:30pm
  • Fridays: 9:00am to 8:00pm
  • Saturdays: 9:00am to 4:30pm
  • Sundays: 9:00am to 2:00pm
  • Closed on Mondays and public holidays

Bloodbank@Woodlands, located at 900 South Woodlands Drive, Woodlands Civic Centre, #05-07.

Opening hours are as follows:

  • Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: 12:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Saturdays: 9:00am to 5:00pm
  • Sundays: 9:00am to 2:00pm
  • Closed on Tuesdays and public holidays

Bloodbank@Woodlands will be open on the eve of the Hari Raya Puasa public holiday on Monday, August 29, from 12:00pm to 8:00pm.

Those who have not donated blood before in Singapore can visit www.hsa.gov.sg/donationcriteria or call 6220- 0183 for more information on the blood donation criteria or to make an appointment for blood donation.

– CNA/cc

Update – I see that last Ramadhan, three mosques handed out flyers about the new Bloodbank@Woodlands to worshippers (link). Next year BloodBank will try reaching out during Ramadhan. Hmm, I think we should also urge us non-Muslims to step up!

Awesome, mawsome – some real dinosaur fossils in the museum!

I dropped in at the Raffles Museum today and was dragged to a locked room by Leo Tan and Belinda Teo who happened to chance on me.

Leo Tan’s face was a picture of relish as he impatiently paced until the keys appeared – with an entourage. Once opened, his and Belinda’s eyes glistened with true wonder at the sight of fossilised vertebra. And they all burst into laughter when they realised the bones had company – an army of replicas were gawking at the REAL THING!

The vertebra had come from Wyoming, it seems, from the owners of Apollo, Prince and Twinky. Sympathy for the museum’s struggle to raise private funds in time to acquire the sauropods had spurred them to ship real, fossilised dinosaur vertebral bones to help in the fund-raising process.

I looked as our very distinguished Professor Leo Tan attempted to climb up an unsteady chair for an overhead shot of the bones laid out on the table. We gawked and Kaixin intervened. Finding a sturdy stool, she took several shots while everyone chattered like children. I mean really chattered.

20110818-dino-vertebra

I was struck with wonder – not at the solid feel of these age-old structures I was already plotting to have my zoology students examine – instead, I was struck by the excitement these dinosaur fossils had elicited in the museum folk around me.

Imagine three genuine, majestic dinosaurs to call our own, how that would excite visitors in the new museum in 2014. I could easily see how they will awaken the imagination of kids far and wide who will dream of an ancient age predating man and the artificial boundaries he impresses upon the planet.

This is not some government mega-project. The Raffles Museum at NUS in many ways is still very much a mom and pop shop. But passionate people walk the floors, and for better or for worse, are a bunch of real enthusiasts. They reflect the excitement of children and the child within every contributor who has dug deep to chip away at the SG$12 million bill.

The twinkle in their eyes, despite the setbacks from the fund raising, has me chortling even now. Never fear, they have not given up – the hunt to bring Apollo, Prince and Twinky to our shores is alive and well!

Links

  • A long love affair with dinosaurs – now, let’s get some of our own!” Otterman speaks, 29 Jul 2011 – link
  • “Donate to our Dinosaur Exhibit” – webpage at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, NUS – link
  • FAQ on the Dinosaur Project – link
  • News and reports about the dinosaur acquisition project on Raffles Museum News – link