Adopting a proactive approach to blood shortages: experience from the National Blood Centre, Malaysia

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In an effort to provide adequate and safe blood supply from voluntary non-remunerated blood donors in the face of increasing demand and decreasing donor population, blood collection centres are also challenged with blood shortages. To provide a consistent and reliable blood supply, blood centres will have to resort to creative and innovative measures. Malaysia observes numerous national and state holidays and is not exempt from natural and man-made disasters. These and the poor response to blood donation campaigns as a result of ‘balik kampung’ phenomenon contribute to acute seasonal blood shortages in blood collection centres around the country.

Materials and Methods

Adopting a proactive approach to blood shortages includes embracing new measures to recruit and retain blood donors, establishing a blood forecast system, developing a strong network among blood collection centres, being transparent with the blood inventory levels which will lead to greater trust and increased confidence in BTS and having a contingency plan. At NBC, the Blood Action Team was formed in 2010. It is made up of multidisciplinary team members. Meetings are held regularly, and this has greatly improved the communication interdepartmentally and has fostered a team whose members are committed to improving blood supply management and preventing blood shortages through discussion and brainstorming sessions.


Since the implementation of these measures, NBC has successfully and effectively overcome the annual seasonal blood shortages for the last 3 years.


Seasonal blood shortages are largely preventable by adopting a proactive approach.

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