- The World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on the 14th of June every year.
- On this day, the World Health Organization increases awareness about the necessity of blood donation for blood transfusion.
- Voluntary, non-paid blood donation is the safest type of blood donation.
We often hear the phrase, donate blood and save a life. However, like for many other pieces of advice that we are routinely exposed to, we listen, appreciate and forget.
‘Blood donation is one of the simplest way to save another person’s life. So, Donate Blood Save Lives!’
AdvertisementBlood is a vital fluid of the body that is produced by the body itself. It contains red blood cells, which carry oxygen, white blood cells, which fight infection, and platelets, which prevent bleeding. The body cannot replace a sudden loss of blood due to accidents, major surgeries, childbirth or other similar situations. Under such circumstances, a blood transfusion is needed. Disease conditions may reduce a type of blood cells, which have to be replaced. For this purpose, the cells from donated blood are separated and the required type of cells are infused to the patient. Some blood products consist of plasma, the fluid part of the blood, or certain clotting factors which are administered in patients with bleeding disorders. The importance of timing of blood transfusion cannot be underestimated - a slight delay could cost a life.
Blood cannot be artificially produced. Therefore, blood donation is the only way in which blood can be made available to a patient in need. Blood that is donated is normally stored in blood banks, which are made available when someone needs it. Unfortunately, blood banks are always in short supply, since not many people donate blood on a voluntary basis.
Blood is taken from a donor, only after deemed fit to donate. Blood donation does not harm the donor but in fact stimulates the donor's bone marrow to produce more blood.
An important aspect of blood transfusion is testing for blood group and compatibility between the donor and recipient blood, so that a transfusion reaction does not occur. Another important concern in blood donation is that the blood should be safe. Several diseases like HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis spread through blood and blood products. Though blood is normally tested before it is transfused, there have been some cases where the infection has been missed and contaminated blood has been transfused. People who donate blood on a total voluntary basis without expecting any monetary or other benefits are most likely to supply safe blood.
The World Health Organization is promoting blood transfusion with the aim that all countries should be self-sufficient to meet their individual requirements, and obtain these from voluntary unpaid donors by the year 2020. Many countries still depend on paid volunteers or family members to donate blood. The WHO encourages countries to put policies in place to meet the goal of being completely self-sufficient with respect to safe blood availability.
Facts About Blood Donation
- Every year globally around 108 million units of donated blood are collected.
- From 2004 - 2012 an increase of 8.6 million blood donations from voluntary unpaid donors reported.
- Blood donation rate in:
- High-income countries 36.8 donations per 1000 population
- Middle-income countries 11.7 donations per 1000 population
- Low-income countries 3.9 donations per 1000 population
On World Blood Donor Day, people with a rare blood group called the Bombay Blood Group require a special mention. There are only a few hundreds of people among one billion Indians with this blood group. Yet, these individuals have always come forward to help one another at times when any of them needed a blood transfusion, despite the fact that they may not even know the recipient personally.
Voluntary unpaid blood donation is becoming more frequent in the recent years. Yet, there is a long way to go before all countries are self-sufficient with respect to their availability of safe blood. Therefore, if you are a young healthy individual, do consider donating blood - it may save someone's life.