PETALING JAYA - Malaysian Red Crescent (MRC) will apply to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be the host of next year's World Blood Donor Day.
Its vice-chairman, Datuk Dr Bahari Abu Mansor, said it would be an honour for Malaysia to host such a healthy and global event.
However, there is one hurdle MRC must first overcome in order to play host to the annual event, which is celebrated on June 14.
"As a developing country, we must have at least 10 per cent of the population donating blood regularly, as stated by WHO."
He was speaking at a blood donation drive organised by Media Prima Bhd at Sri Pentas in Bandar Utama, here.
MRC plans to host the event, if given approval by WHO, together with Media Prima and New Straits Times Press.
"If we can pull this off (the blood donation drive by Media Prima) on a bigger scale, more people will sign up to be donors," said Dr Bahari, referring to the 10 per cent requirement by WHO to host the World Blood Donor Day.
Media Prima executive director (news and editorial operations) Datuk Ahmad A. Talib said he was optimistic that hosting such an event could be done.
"We have transformed the foyer of Sri Pentas into a blood bank (for the blood donation drive) and there are so many people today (yesterday) who have pledged to be donors."
Themed "Every Blood Donor is a Hero", the event is jointly organised by the NSTP Volunteer Brigade, Media Prima and MRC, and supported by the National Blood Bank and Tampin Hospital, Negri Sembilan.
MRC chairman Tunku Tan Sri Shahriman Tunku Sulaiman said he was happy with the turnout for the drive.
"I see many youngsters here as first-time blood donors. This means that the awareness of blood donation has increased. I'm so proud of them."
Tunku Shahriman said MRC would continue to organise more blood donation drives, especially in rural areas, to educate the people on the importance of donating blood.
National Blood Bank deputy director Datuk Dr Faraizah Abdul Karim said the most difficult problem in blood donation was handling first-time blood donors.
"We have to explain to the first timers about the procedure and assure them it will be all right. They have to tell us their fears of blood or needles so that we know how to handle them.
"We would make sure that they are comfortable at all times during the procedures."
With Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri coming soon, said Dr Faraizah, the blood bank was desperate to collect as much blood as possible.
"We are worried about the first two weeks of Hari Raya. Everyone will go back to their kampung, so we need adequate supply in case of emergencies," she said.
Tampin Hospital mobile blood donation drive coordinator Ganga Devi B. Sinniah said it was a commendable effort in roping youngsters and staff of Media Prima to donate blood.
"Most of them are first timers, which is good. Some of them didn't have enough haemoglobin or didn't weigh enough, so we had to turn them away as it is not healthy for them to donate."
She said the hospital managed to collect about 175 pints of blood in the drive that was extended until 2pm because of the overwhelming response.
Companies which took part in the event include Adabi Consumer Industries Sdn Bhd, Unilever (M) Holdings Sdn Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd, Mamee Double Decker (M) Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Restoran Kelantan Delights and Dallis'cious Catering.