On June 14 every year, countries around the world celebrate the World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood products for patients in need. This is in addition to thanking voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It helps patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life; supports complex medical and surgical procedures and also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care as well as during man-made or natural disasters.
However in many countries, demand exceeds supply, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety. An adequate supply can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary, unpaid blood donors. The WHO’s goal is for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary, unpaid donors by 2020. Today, only 62 countries get close to 100% of their national blood supply from voluntary, unpaid blood donations, with 40 countries still dependent on family donors and even paid donors.
According to the WHO, the theme of this year’s campaign is blood donation as an action of solidarity. It highlights fundamental human values of altruism, respect, empathy and kindness which underline and sustain voluntary unpaid blood donation systems. “We have adopted the slogan ‘Be there for someone. Give blood. Share life’, the organization says to draw attention to the roles that voluntary donation systems play in encouraging people to care for one another and generate social ties and a united community”.
The campaign aims to highlight stories of people whose lives have been saved through blood donation, as a way of motivating regular blood donors to continue giving blood, and to motivate people in good health who have never given blood to begin doing so, particularly young people.
At Police HMO, we encourage everyone, particularly our stakeholders- enrollees, providers and regulators to partake in this noble cause, as your one donation of blood can save up to four lives.
Facts to know
- The age at which people are eligible to donate varies between countries but it is commonly between 17-65 years old. Some countries accept donations from people from the age of 16 and extend the upper age limit beyond 65 years. However, you will be accepted as a blood donor only if you are fit and healthy.
- Blood donation is safe. All the instruments used during blood collection are clean, sterile and will not come in contact with other blood donors.
- In most countries, the volume taken is 450 mls, less than 10% of an adult’s total blood volume of about 4.5 to 5 litres. In some countries a smaller volume of blood is taken. The lost fluid is replenished by the body within 36 hours.
- In most countries, individuals can safely give blood every 4 months due to constant need for blood because blood and its components can only be stored for a limited period of time.
- It is recommended that donors maintain their usual food and fluid intake before donation but avoid heavy or fatty meals which may result in a lip emic (fatty) donation will be discarded. An intake of 500 mls of drinking water just before donation reduces the risk of vasovagal reaction (drop in heart rate or blood pressure).
- Blood donation is not painful at all. All you feel is a little pressure and a momentary “pin-prick” sensation. Any discomfort or problem during or after donating is uncommon and should be reported immediately.