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June 14, is celebrated around the world as the World Blood Donor Day every year. The event, established in 2004, helps raise awareness about the need for safe blood and blood products like platelets. This day is observed to thank all the blood donors worldwide for their voluntary, life-saving gift of blood.
Why should you donate blood?
You may not know this but blood donation by just 1% of the population can meet a nation’s requirements for blood. Blood transfusion can save lives and improves health this is a fact that we all know and acknowledge, but many patients requiring transfusion do not get timely access to safe blood, resulting in preventable death.
You would not wish such a death on our near and dear ones, would you?
This is the reason why healthy, voluntary donors like you and us must donate blood regularly. Voluntary, unpaid blood donors are also the backbone of a country’s blood donor base as they are the safest group of donors with the lowest prevalence of blood borne infections like hepatitis and HIV. Low risk populations are people who do not indulge in high-risk activities like unprotected sex, drug use etc. The World Health Organization’s goal is for all countries to obtain their entire blood supplies through voluntary unpaid donors.
Blood transfusion is needed for:
- Women with complications during pregnancy, like ectopic pregnancies, also called high-risk pregnancies, and hemorrhage before, during or after childbirth
- Anaemic children due to malaria or malnutrition
- People with severe trauma due to accidents and natural disasters
- Complex medical and surgical procedures like for cancer
- Regular blood transfusions for people with conditions such as thalassaemia and sickle cell anemia, a disease where the blood can’t transmit enough oxygen to body cells.
- To make products such as clotting factors for people with haemophilia
- Fresh blood is needed all the time because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use.
Hence, regular blood donations by an optimum number of blood donors who are healthy are required to ensure that safe blood is available whenever and wherever it is needed.
- Indeed, blood is the most precious gift that you can give to another person. It’s a gift of life.
- Your decision to donate your blood can save a life, or even several lives. This can happen if your blood is separated into its components like red blood cells, platelets and plasma. These can be used individually for patients with specific conditions like platelets can be used for treating dengue because this viral infection can damage one’s blood platelets.
Need another reason to donate blood?
Well, you can get a number of health benefits when you donate blood. You will receive a mini physical at the time of blood donation to check your:
• Haemoglobin levels
• Blood pressure
• Body temperature
And contrary to belief, your body replaces the blood lost at the time of a donation effortlessly and without any harm to your system. So donate blood regularly and save lives. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a General Physician.