Blood and blood products are unique and precious resources because they cannot be manufactured and are obtainable only from individuals who donate 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 a higher quality of life. There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood and its components can be stored for only a limited time before use. This year, World Blood Donor Day will once again be celebrated around the world on 14 June. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and also to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donation. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Safe blood for all”.
Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person, which is “the gift of life”. The age at which people are eligible to donate is between 18-65 years old with a minimum of 45kg weight. However, a blood donor is accepted only if he is found to be fit and healthy by the doctor after the examination.
The popular misconception that a person becomes weak by donating blood is wrong. On the contrary, there are several benefits of blood donation. Recent research has demonstrated that repeated blood donation is effective in reducing blood pressure, blood glucose, low-density lipoprotein/high-density lipoprotein ratio, heart attacks and strokes. Blood donation helps in lowering the risk of cancers of throat, liver, lungs, intestine, and stomach. Regularly donating blood helps in weight loss and burn fat up to 650 calories. Donating blood helps in stimulating the generation of new blood cells and so people feel re-energized by giving blood on a regular basis.
Apart from all these benefits, a donor gets a mini blood test done before donating blood which includes Haemoglobin level test, blood grouping, pulse, temperature, blood pressure and body weight. After the blood is collected it is tested for 5 major diseases. These are-Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, Syphilis and Malaria. Apart from the basic serological tests we also do a NAT (Nucleic Acid Amplification Test) which detects a recently infected blood donor by further reducing the window period. The donor is immediately informed if any of these tests are found to be positive with a free consultation with an expert.
As per WHO, just 1% of the nation’s population is sufficient to meet its overall requirements of safe blood transfusion. In such a scenario, there is a high importance of ‘World Blood Donor Day’ (14th June), when nations make even more dedicated efforts to create awareness about the importance of voluntary blood donation. So, let us take a pledge to be a voluntary, non-remunerated regular donor and make a dynamic move in the road to achieving 100% voluntary blood donation in our country through this selfless gesture.