By Rubendran Sathupathy
To raise awareness and encourage people to donate blood and organs, INTI International University’s Student Services Department (SSD) organized a blood and organ donation campaign in collaboration with the National Blood Bank and Organ Donation Team from Hospital Tuanku Jaafar Seremban on 12th October at the Physiotherapy Centre.
The event saw the participation of 176 INTI students and staff, 128 of them donated blood and 48 registered as organ donors.
The event was held as part of INTI’s University Social Responsibility (USR). Ms. Leong Fong Chu, International Services cum Students Counsellor and the campaign coordinator, added they hoped to get INTI’s community to do voluntary work. Ms. Leong believed that although there is awareness about blood donation, Malaysians are still reluctant to donate blood. According to the Ministry of Health Malaysia, less than 5% of Malaysians are blood donors.
“This is because we might find it difficult to travel to a hospital that is far away to donate blood. Thus, SSD hopes that by providing a platform on campus, people are more inclined to donate blood since it is nearer and more convenient for them,” she added.
As for organ donation, according to Khairy Jamaluddin, Malaysian Health Minster, quoted in The Star Newspaper “Malaysia was among the 10 countries with the lowest transplant rate last year at only 2.84 organ transplants done per million population, according to the Global Observatory on Donation and Transplantation.”
Ms. Leong highlighted misconceptions and stereotypes as some of the main reasons for the numbers in Malaysia to be very low.
“Most people are aware of the need for organ donation, but due to religious constraints or stigma, they may be uncertain if it is the right thing to do,” There is a lack of awareness and misconception about it.
“For example, they may think their body will be dissected by doctors after they pass away if they pledge to become organ donors. Therefore, regardless of whether you choose to become organ donors, we at least hope that you will gain some awareness about the issue.”
Ms. Leong further elaborated that if people in need of an organ fail to receive them, they might resort to desperate measures such as purchasing them illegally underground.
A medical team from Hospital Tuanku Jaafar was there to provide a professional perspective to reassure people about the process. They set up a booth where public could ask questions and clear their doubts.