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!’
Blood 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.
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
The theme for this year's blood donation day is Blood
Connects Us All and the slogan is Share Life, Give Blood
- Every year globally around 108 million units of donated blood
- 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
. With the theme, the WHO hopes that people will feel the connection
with others through sharing the gift of blood. It also hopes that those who
regularly donate blood will continue to do so, while those who haven't given as
yet will make a start.
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.
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.