KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 — Malaysia witnessed a remarkable surge in organ donation pledges in 2022, with a record-breaking 52,004 individuals stepping forward to register for the posthumous procedure.
According to data provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH) available to the public at open data portal data.gov.my, the second-highest number of pledges occurred in 2015 when 47,037 generous souls pledged their organs to those in need.
The turning point came on October 3, 2022, when a staggering 1,417 individuals registered to donate their organs in a single day, setting a new benchmark for the nation's organ donation drive.
The backdrop of this heartening surge in organ pledges is the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, Malaysia recorded its lowest number of pledges, with a mere 3,482 individuals committing to organ donation, a stark contrast to the 15,272 pledges made in 2019.
The tide began to turn in 2021, with 7,057 pledges, but it was in 2022 that the nation truly rallied, demonstrating unparalleled generosity. As of September 17 this year, 22,071 compassionate individuals have already pledged to donate their organs.
Delving into the regional statistics, Kuala Lumpur emerged as the organ donation capital of Malaysia, with a remarkable 2.7 per cent of its population pledging to donate their organs.
Penang followed closely with 1.6 per cent, followed by Johor and Selangor (1.3 per cent each), Perak (1.1 per cent), Perlis, Terengganu, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, and Melaka (1 per cent each).
Kelantan recorded the lowest proportion of pledge rate at just 0.4 per cent.
The biggest proportion of donation pledges came from those aged between 20 and 29 (17,168), and surprisingly there were 14 pledges from those aged between 70 and 79.
Meanwhile, Malaysia's blood donation drives have been consistently hitting more than 150,000 new donors every year since 2012 except between 2020 and 2022, when it dipped below 150,000 donors for the first time.
In 2020, only 115,606 donated blood followed by 96,702 in 2021, the lowest ever since 2012. In 2022 a mere 120,929 new donors registered to donate blood. As of the time of writing blood donors in 2023 is at 85,643.
In the past year, the largest group of new donors came from those aged between 17 and 24, with a whopping 51,036 new donors.
Similar to organ donation pledges, most of the blood donors who gave at least once a year came from Kuala Lumpur (10.6 per cent), but this also included data from the National Blood Centre's mobile campaigns around Selangor and Putrajaya.
As for blood type, data showed that blood type O had the highest percentage of donors making up 42.5 per cent of all donors nationwide, followed by B and A (both 27.1 per cent), and AB (5.6 per cent).
Those with blood type O can contribute red blood cells to anybody and are known as the universal donor, while those in group AB can receive any blood type.
Donor regularity showed that 60 per cent of all donors in the past year were regular donors who have donated blood in the past two years. New donors made up 21 per cent while around 19 per cent were categorised as lapsed donors meaning they have not donated blood in two years.