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Today is World Blood Donor Day 2018 which is organized by the World Health Organisation for countries around the world to celebrate and thank voluntary blood donors for their life-saving help.
This day also aims at raising awareness of the importance of donating blood for those in need.
Here is why donating blood is important:
- Every few seconds, someone is in dire need of blood.
- Blood products and blood transfusions help save millions of lives every year and can help patients from suffering from life-threatening diseases.
- Blood transfusion is especially needed for women with pregnancy complications, during or after childbirth, for children with severe anemia, for cancer patients, and for regular transfusions for people with conditions like thalassemia and sickle cell disease.
- As blood can be stored for a limited period of time, regular blood donations from healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood is always available.
- A decision to donate your blood can save an individual's life, or maybe several individuals if your blood is separated into its components which are red cells, plasma, and platelets. These can be used individually for patients with specific conditions.
Did you know there are 3 types of blood donors? Voluntary unpaid, paid, and family/replacement.
Here are some of the facts you should know about blood transfusion according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
1. Blood Transfusion Saves Lives And Improves Health
Do you know around 112.5 million units of donated blood are collected globally every year? Around 47 per cent of these blood donations are collected in high-income countries, home to less than 19 per cent of the world's population.
Every country should make sure that supplies of blood and blood products are sufficient and free from HIV, hepatitis virus, and other infections that can be easily transmitted through transfusion.
2. Blood Transfusions Are Used To Support Various Treatments
The most frequently transfused patient group is over 60 years of age, accounting for up to 79 per cent of all transfusions. The blood transfusion is commonly used for supportive care in cardiovascular surgery, massive trauma, transplant surgery, etc.
In middle-income countries, it's used more often for management of pregnancy-related complications, trauma-related injuries, and childhood anemia.
3. Adequate Supply Of Safe Blood Can Only Be Assured Through Voluntary, Unpaid Donation
Adequate and a reliable source of safe blood can only be assured through a stable base of regular, voluntary, unpaid blood donors. These donors are considered the safest group of donors because the prevalence of blood donor infections is low among them.
4. Collections At Blood Centres Vary According To Income Group
In 168 countries, about 10,000 blood centres collect a total of 83 million blood donations. The median annual blood donations per centre is 15,000 in high-income countries than 3100 in middle and low-income countries.
5. Donated Blood Should Be Screened
After the blood is donated, it should be screened for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis prior to transfusion. However, 35 countries aren't able to screen all donated blood for one or more of these infections.
In some countries, the testing of blood is not reliable because of irregular supply of test kits, staff shortages, and poor quality test kits. Irregular supply of test kits is one of the most common barriers in the blood screening process.
What Are The Benefits Of Donating Blood?
1. Prevents Hemochromatosis
One health benefit of donating blood includes reducing the risk of hemochromatosis. It is a health condition that arises due to excess absorption of iron by the body. This condition is either inherited or may be caused due to alcoholism, anemia, and other disorders. Regular blood donation will reduce the iron overload in the body.
2. Maintains Healthy Heart And Liver
One of the blood donation benefits is maintaining a healthy heart and liver ailments caused by iron overload. Having iron-rich foods will increase the iron levels in the body and the excess iron is stored in the liver, heart, and pancreas. This, in turn, increases the risk of liver failure, damages the pancreas, and causes heart abnormalities.
3. Prevents Cancer
Another importance of donating blood is lowering the risk of cancer. By donating blood the iron stores in the body are maintained at stable levels. A reduction in the iron level in the body is linked to low cancer risk.
4. Enables Weight Loss
Regular blood donors lose weight while in the process and this is helpful for those who are obese and are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health disorders. However, frequent blood donation isn't advisable; speak to your doctor before donating blood.
5. Stimulates Blood Cell Production
After a person donates blood, the body works to replenish the blood loss. This helps stimulate the production of new blood cells and aids in maintaining overall health.
How often can you donate blood?
A person who wishes to donate blood has to wait for 56 days or 8 weeks between whole blood donations.
How much should you donate?
A person can donate one unit or 350 ml of blood every 8 weeks.
How old should you be to donate blood?
A blood donor's age must be between 18-60 years and their weight should be more than 45 kgs to be able to donate blood.