Thursday, December 27, 2012


     Jakarta, Dec 27, 2012 (ANTARA) - Blood donation is crucial for Indonesia particularly because the world's largest archipelagic country with more than 17,500 islands and around 245 million population, is prone to natural disasters such as earthquake, tsunami, volcano eruption, flood, and landslide.  
    The most devastating disaster happening in this modern era was  a powerful earthquake and a subsequent gigantic tsunami that struck Aceh Darussalam Province and Nias Island (North Sumatra Province) on December 26, 2004. The tsunami killed over 200,000 people and rendered around one million others homeless in Aceh and Nias.  

     Indonesia is located in the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire" of volcanoes and earthquakes. A total of 730 natural disasters have hit Indonesia this year, claiming a total of 487 lives.  
    During disaster relief efforts, blood donation helps save many lives, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said.
         "Our country is prone to disasters. It's almost a given that blood will always be needed to save the lives of disaster victims.
    Besides, many regular patients also require blood, such as during
blood transfusion," the president stated in Jakarta on December 14, 2012 when presenting awards to 1,402 blood donor volunteers who have donated blood for at least 100 times.
         Besides natural disasters, other emergency situations such as traffic accidents have also forced the nation to have adequate supply of bloods.
        "The increasing number of motorcycles in Indonesia has led to a
rising number of traffic accidents, and many accident victims need blood," Yudhoyono added.
        To help the nation's have an ample blood stock, Chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) M Jusuf Kalla has urged the Indonesian young people to take part in blood donor programs.
         "We encourage Indonesian youths to become blood donor volunteers
after we connect with them and their communities. We have blood
donation units at eight universities and 10 malls, for example,"
Kalla stated.
   The Red Cross has launched 110 new blood donation outlets among other things in malls and universities.  
   "In every developing country, the demand for blood increases from
time to time. Therefore, we have to find a way to make blood donation a way of life here, especially for those in their twenties," Kalla added.
        Like what the president had said, Kalla also cited the rising number of motorcycles in Indonesia that has led to an increasing number of traffic accidents. "Many traffic accident victims need blood," he said.
         PMI is making efforts to meet the minimum requirement of 4.5 million blood bags in Indonesia.
         Last year, 212 units of the Indonesian Red Cross collected 2.3 million blood bags, with blood donor volunteers accounting for the highest percentage of the collections. In 2010,  the PMI had collected 2.1 million blood bags, Jusuf Kalla, Indonesia's former vice president, said.
         With 2.3 million blood bags collected in this manner, the Red
Cross is able to provide a total of about 3.2 million pints of blood, he pointed out.
         However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the
number of blood bags available in a country should be at least 2
percent of its total population. That means Indonesia should
ideally have a stock of 4.8 million blood bags, Kalla said.
         In 2010, the number of voluntarily blood donors was recorded
at 1,758,570, up from 1,444,398 in 2009. In 2011, the numbers
reached 1,902,702 donors.
         Last November 2012, state-owned insurance company PT Jamsostek (Persero) donated a blood donor vehicle to the Indonesian Red Cross, to support the mobility of the blood collection activities by PMI.
        To date, PMI has 107 blood donor cars across Indonesia. One unit of car could serve about 3 million blood donors.
        The blood donation drive in Indonesia has also received support from foreign embassies in Jakarta.
         In January 2012, US Ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel, Jusuf Kalla, and Valencia Mieke Randa from Blood for Life launched the "Blood4Nation" campaign at high-tech cultural center @america.
         The campaign, which coincided with National Blood Donor Month
in America and @america's one-year anniversary celebrations, included four days of blood drives.
         The Blood4Nation campaign aimed to raise awareness about the importance of donating blood and move Indonesia closer to meeting its blood supply needs.
     All blood collected through the blood drives goes directly to the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI).  According to the World Health Organization, Indonesia has fewer donations per capita than other Asian nations like Japan and Malaysia, but the number of donors continues to increase each year.
    PMI Chairman Kalla on the occasion stressed the need to make donating blood a way of life, especially for younger Indonesians.  He explained, "We need younger donors.  Why younger?  The first reason is because youth tend to be healthier, and also because they can be donors for a longer period of time."  
    Valencia Mieke Randa, the founder of Online movement Blood for Life,  said "People would like to help donate blood, but they often do not know who needs blood donations.  Blood for Life is there to bridge those who need blood and those who wish to donate."
    Blood for Life does most of its work through online tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, demonstrating how online tools can facilitate offline change.  They also are working on an online application that will allow people to submit blood requests via hand phone.
        Last November, the Slovakian embassy in Jakarta organized a blood donation program. "I hope this can bring us closer, because nothing is closer than a blood relationship," the Slovakian ambassador to Indonesia, Stefan Rozkopal, said on the occasion.
        Being the first-of-its-kind event, a number of ambassadors from European countries such Denmark, Croatia and Finland, took part in the blood donation program held at Rozkopal's residence.
        According to the WHO, the basis for an adequate supply of safe blood is a pool of healthy, regular, voluntary donors who give blood without financial or other reward.
        Research has shown that donors who give blood of their own free will without the expectation of payment are the 'safest' donors.
        The number one reason donors say they give blood is because they "want to help others." One donation can help save the lives of up to three people.  
(f001/ a014)

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