Blood Donation & It’s Importance

Every 14th June, is world donor day. Why let mosquitoes have your blood? Why not donate the  blood to help people in need?

This year theme is “Blood Connects All”. Every year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) brings a theme that follows the world blood donor day. The theme seems to raise the awareness of the need to safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donor for their voluntary life saving gift of blood.

Objectives of World Blood Donor Day

A donor is a hero

In most hospitals (federal, state and private hospitals), there is always need for blood. That is why there is need for blood drive, that is, trying to sensitise people on the need to voluntarily donate blood. Anybody can need it anytime.
For the women of the reproductive age, one of the major causes of high maternal mortality is bleeding (hemorrhage) during birth, etc. If this is taken care of, therefore we would be able to reduce our maternal mortality rate.
Of course, we have accidents and insurgencies here and there. And all these places there’s need for blood. That is why it very important for us to create this awareness.

Also people do it as a humanitarian service. People donates blood when their relatives have a need for blood donations, which is called directed blood donation. That is majorly what we have in Nigeria. Unfortunately, we hardly go to blood banks.

 

NSSF Uganda Managing Director Richard Byarugaba donating blood

There was a time, the federal blood transfusion board wanted to be established… therefore, each state would have blood donation agency spreading down to the local councils. And of course, the awareness would be better and more blood availability.

 

Misconception of Blood Donation

Frankly speaking, so many things like ritualistic and cultism are responsible for all these thoughts and is not true. A recognized centre for blood banking would not take blood for illegal use. It is a centre managed by government.
If you have the need to donate blood, don’t just mind what is happening. We have so many things our culture placed on our lifestyle on what we do in this part of the world. Nobody would take your blood for illegal use and you won’t collapse.
Also, it is very rare occasion to collapse after blood donation. Donors are screened before qualifying for donation.

Blood Donation Requirements

Blood donation takes 20 to 30 minutes of your time every 56 days. It requires you to be between the ages of 16 and 65, weigh over 50kgs, be in good general health and lead a safe sexual lifestyle. It does not cause you any bodily harm, since only 475ml of blood is taken, which is replaced within 24 hours.

Who Should Donate Blood

• An Adult:

Someone between 18 and 65 years is qualified, both male and female (except pregnant women and gays). Gays are excluded because they can transmit HIV.

• Healthy Perspective Donor:

History are taken from perspective donors, therefore, people with diseases, such as HIV, syphilis, hepatitis, etc. are not allowed to donate blood. Because their diseases can be transmitted through blood transfusion. Even though the HIV virus is non-detectable in you, once you have that history (HIV), you are  still disqualified.

 

Blood analysis in a medical laboratory

 

We also screen those blood collected before approval for medical use. In a nut shell, the donor is screened, the blood collected from the donor is screen and the recipient blood is also screened for HIV.

Sample blood collection tube with HIV test label on HIV infection screening test form

Cost of Acquiring Blood

If you did not donate any blood, you must buy the blood if you are in need. Why? Because of the cost of storage.
The blood is being donated by some people and given out to special establishments (qualified laboratories). Diesel are run in Nigeria to keep the blood for better use.
Trays of blood in a blood bank
In Nigeria, we have commercial donors and directed donors (donating blood to relatives in need), which are the main source of blood in Nigeria. The commercial donors donates blood for money and come at regular interval when the blood bank is dry.
Blood and blood product can not be stored indefinitely, as it does have expiry date. Therefore, regular blood donations are as important as donating on special occasions like 14 June.
There is now a policy where any blood that is going to be transfused to a patient in Nigeria, must be screened centrally by the centre laboratory. Lagos State for instance, has that (centre blood bank) in place. Whatever blood you take from their private establishment, are taken to the centre for screening and labeling. Efforts are being made to make blood safe for both donor and the recipient.

Health Benefits of Donating Blood

Hypertensive and people liable to heart challenges benefits from blood donations. And some people with disease, including diabetic and people with high level of cholesterol benefits from blood donation; it makes them feel better.

• Improves Heart Health:

Donating blood improves your overall cardiovascular health. Increased level of iron in the blood raises the chance of heart disease. Regularly donating blood helps males in particular to reduce the amount of iron in the blood.

• Enhance the Production of New Blood Cells:

When blood is withdrawn, the donor’s body immediately begins to replenish the lost blood. New cells are produced by marrow within 48 hours of donation, and all of the red blood cells the donor loses during donation are completely replaced within one to two months. Therefore, donating blood helps to stimulate the production of new blood cells. This process of replenishment can help your body stay healthy and work more efficiently.

• Burn Calories:

Donating blood on a regular basis can also improve fitness. Donating one pint of blood (450 ml) burns 650 calories in donor’s body.

• Enhance Feeling of Well-being in Elderly People:

Many elderly people who are in good health have reported feeling invigorated and reenergized by giving blood on a regular basis.

• Reduces Cancer Risk:

Give blood to help lower your risk of cancer. According to the Miller-Keystone Blood Center, consistent blood donation is associated with lowered risks of cancers, including liver, lung, colon, stomach and throat cancers. Risk levels drop in correlation with how often participants donate blood.

• Free Health Screening Done:

In addition to all of these benefits, a donor receives a free prior health screening plus mini blood test. There will be an HB level test, as well as a blood pressure and body check. Blood is also tested for some major diseases and the donor is immediately informed in strict confidentiality if any of these tests show positive results.

• Save Lives:

By donating blood, many lives are saved and hope is given to many whose situation may otherwise be hopeless. Blood donors give such patients a second lease of life.

• Brings Joy to Many:

When you donate blood, you impact not only the patient whose life may depend on your donation, but also all those who depend on that patient. The entire community will benefit from the he spirit of generosity.

 

Yes, of course. You are loosing a virtue and must be replenished. Once you donate blood, you would be given something to replenish the blood. Donating a blood means saving a live. Whenever is possible, kindly donate your blood.
Credit: Dr. Ugochukwu Unogo & produced by Yéwándé Iwoha @ Raypower Radio Network 

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