By Dan Satherley
Today is World Blood Donor Day, but with fewer New Zealanders choosing to become donors, it's hardly a day to celebrate.
The New Zealand Blood Service announced today that new donor numbers fell 18 percent in the year to May 2010.
Just over 17,000 people signed up to be donors for the first time, compared to over 21,000 each of the previous three years.
"We have not seen a drop in new donors like this before," says New Zealand Blood Service marketing manager Paul Hayes.
"It is a worrying statistic that we want to reverse now, so it doesn’t become a trend."
The number of donors in New Zealand is already declining by around 1,000 per year, largely due to an aging population.
Currently there are around 90,000 active donors – around 3 percent of the eligible population.
"We are taking the important opportunity on World Blood Donor Day to ask people to check if they are eligible to donate and, if they are, to make an appointment to become a donor," says Mr Hayes.
"Every donation made can help save up to three lives. If an 18 year old started donating today, and only donated once a year, they could help save more than 150 lives in their lifetime – and even more if they donated more regularly."
Over 42,000 people need donated blood every year. To satisfy the demand, the NZBS collects around 3,000 donations a week.
The biggest falls in new donor numbers occurred in Auckland's North Shore (27 percent) and Epsom (22 percent) suburbs, Hawke's Bay(27 percent) and Tauranga (23 percent).
The South Island was only 7 percent down overall, the biggest drop in Nelson (13 percent).
source: newshub archive