It has been predicted by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) that winter would experience an acute shortage of blood and blood derived products. In an attempt to manage this crisis, it has been proposed to increase the maximum age for blood donation from 60 to 66 years.
There has been a steady decline in the number of blood donations since 1999. The following move is expected to increase the number of blood donations to a sustainable level. Out of a large pool of potential blood donors in the age group 18 to 60 years, only 6 % donate blood. The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) has invited people in the age group of 60 years to 66 years to donate blood.
This would not be applicable to first time blood donors however as they are more likely to get rejected. In addition to the reluctance of people to donate blood, the severe climatic conditions are also regarded as hindering factors to the noble cause. Generally, men over 50 can be described as good-hearted, energetic, kind, reliable and responsible. These are the criteria that are required for a blood donor as well. So prompting them to donate blood would be an easier task.
The health officials have said that more than a 1000 blood samples are being collected, processed and tested before it can be distributed for safe use. They have also expressed need for an improvement in the efficiency of blood testing services to identify diseases commonly spread through blood transfusion.
Amongst those who need repeated blood transfusions are, patients suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), a form of blood cancer. There have been numerous instances where donors have been inspired to donate blood following real life circumstances that necessitated them to donate blood to their loved ones. One such is the case involving blood donation from a father to his daughter (afflicted with ALL).
Blood donors who continue to touch the lives of a millions worldwide have appreciated the relaxation rule. Though a law, such as this can meet the demand on a temporary basis, initiatives have to be taken to encourage blood donation amongst general public, irrespective of their age.