Ranjan K Baruah
There is much joy after donating blood as donated blood will help someone in need. It is one of the best ways to contribute towards humanity. A blood donation occurs when a person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for transfusions and/or made into biopharmaceutical medications by a process called fractionation (separation of whole-blood components). Most blood donors are unpaid volunteers who donate blood for a community supply. In some countries, established supplies are limited and donors usually give blood when family or friends need a transfusion (directed donation). Many donors donate as an act of charity, but in countries that allow paid donation some donors are paid, and in some cases there are incentives other than money such as paid time off from work. Donating is relatively safe, but some donors have bruising where the needle is inserted or may feel faint.
Of the 112.5 million blood donations collected globally, approximately half of these are collected in high-income countries, home to 19% of the world’s population. Every year our nation requires about 5 Crore units of blood, out of which only a meagre 2.5 Crore units of blood are available. Every two seconds someone needs blood and more than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day. An increase of 10.7 million blood donations from voluntary unpaid donors has been reported from 2008 to 2013. In total, 74 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors; however, 71 countries collect more than 50% of their blood supply from family/replacement or paid donors.
We are aware that donating blood is a safe process but still many people do not donate blood in their life time. Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments. The number one reason donors say they give blood is because they “want to help others.” There are many excuses by people who do not want to donate blood in spite of knowing that how important is the voluntary blood donation as one donation can help save the lives of up to three people.
Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need. However, on October 1st ‘National Blood Donation Day’ celebrates in India.
Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during the emergency response to man-made and natural disasters.
The theme of this year’s campaign is blood donation as an action of solidarity. It highlights the fundamental human values of altruism, respect, empathy and kindness which underline and sustain voluntary unpaid blood donation systems. 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.
The objectives of this year’s campaign includes to celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood and to encourage those who have not yet donated blood to start donating; to highlight the need for committed, year-round blood donation, in order to maintain adequate supplies and achieve national self-sufficiency of blood. The host country for World Blood Donor Day 2018 is Greece, through the Hellenic National Blood Centre. The global event will be held in Athens on 14 June 2018.
We can help others by donating blood. There are many initiatives around the world focussing on voluntary blood donation. There are websites and social media which are also connecting people who need blood. As a donor, my bitter experience is that people forget to thank others after they get their required blood. If every Indian starts donating blood regularly then there won’t be shortage of blood in the country and we might think of exporting it to countries in emergencies and when ever required. Old Boys Association of Sainik School Goalpara (OBA SSG) has been organising voluntary blood donation in different parts of the country in recent years. Let us all pledge that whenever possible and if our health permits then we shall donate blood. There may not be any other joy than helping someone by donating our blood.
(With inputs from WHO publication and feedback may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ranjan K Baruah