Blood Donation: A Life Saving Attitude



14 June 2019, Kathmandu

Blood donation is a voluntary procedure that can help save the lives of others. There are several types of blood donation, which help meet different medical needs.

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 donations to ensure that all individuals and communities have access to affordable and timely supplies of safe and quality-assured blood and blood products, as an integral part of universal health coverage and a key component of effective health systems.

Donating blood can help in treating patients suffering from cancer, bleeding disorders, chronic anemia associated with cancer, sickle cell anemia, and other hereditary blood abnormalities. It is important to know that human blood cannot be manufactured, people are the only source of it and that is why it is important to donate blood and help those who need it. It is also possible to store your own blood for your future needs. Make sure the blood is stored at a good blood bank.

Who can/cannot donate?

  • A person of any sex from the age from 18 to 60 can donate blood
  • Blood donors should weigh more than 45 kg
  • The amount of haemoglobin in the blood should be equal to or more than 12 gm
  • The blood pressure must be within the range of 100/70- 160/95 mmHg
  • People who donate blood should be in good health and should not be suffering from tuberculosis, sexually transferable diseases, diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, high blood pressure, kidney and heart diseases, jaundice, fever and HIV/AIDS
  • The donor must consult the doctor if s/he is using any drug/medicine
  • Blood donation is strictly prohibited among drug addicts. A female

during her periods up to eight days, pregnancy and during breast-feeding should not donate blood

Health Benefits

Blood donation not only makes the receiver’s life good but also helps the donor to maintain good health. The health benefits of donating blood are mentioned below.

Lowers Cancer Risk

Blood donation helps in lowering the risk of cancer. By donating blood the iron stores in the body are maintained at healthy levels. A reduction in the iron level in the body is linked with low cancer risk.

Prevents Hemochromatosis

Health benefits of blood donation include reduced risk of hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis is a health condition that arises due to excess absorption of iron by the body. This may be inherited or may be caused due to alcoholism, anemia or other disorders. Regular blood donation may help in reducing iron overload. Make sure that the donor meets the standard blood donation eligibility criteria.

Reduces Weight

Regular blood donation reduces the weight of the donors. This is helpful to those who are obese and are at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health disorders. However, blood donation should not be very frequent and you may consult your doctor before donating blood to avoid any health issues.

Healthy Liver and Heart

Blood donation is beneficial in reducing the risk of heart and liver ailments caused by the iron overload in the body. Intake of iron-rich diet may increase the iron levels in the body, and since only limited proportions can be absorbed, excess iron gets stored in heart, liver, and pancreas. This, in turn, increases the risk of cirrhosis, liver failure, damage to the pancreas, and heart abnormalities like irregular heart rhythms. Blood donation helps in maintaining the iron levels and reduces the risk of various health ailments.

Produces New Blood Cells

After donating blood, the body works to replenish the blood loss. This stimulates the production of new blood cells and in turn, helps in maintaining good health.

Health Risks

Donating blood is a safe process and involves a trusted procedure that is done tens of thousands of times each day. Blood donation has more advantages than disadvantages, but every medical procedure carries some risk, even a small one. Blood donation can be take up to at least an hour for the entire process, so inconvenience could be on the list. (However, the actual blood donation happens within ten minutes.) Also, the process of donating blood can leave you with bruising, pain, weakness, continued bleeding, or dizziness and nausea.

Bruising

It is quite common to experience bruising when you donate blood. When the needle is inserted into one of your veins to collect blood it tends to leave the area a little bruised. Bruises vary in color and size. Yellow, blue, or even purple bruises are nothing to worry about. You can easily treat the bruises by placing an ice pack on the bruised area.

Causes Pain

A needle inserted into your arm can be painless or you can feel a sharp pinch. Once the needle is in place, however, the process of taking blood is not painful, but the needle can cause slight discomfort for some people. It is also possible to feel a bit sore after donating blood, especially if you experience bruising.

Weakness

After donating blood it is possible to feel weak. Your arm used for donating is more likely to experience weakness because that is the site where blood is drawn. It is important to not exercise or do any intense physical activity for a few hours after you donate blood.

Bleeding

If you experience continued bleeding after removing the needle, put pressure on the site that is bleeding. Then, keep your arm above your heart for a few minutes before releasing the pressure. The pressure should slow down the bleeding. This is why you are told to keep the bandage and dressing around your arm for a few hours so the bleeding will stop. However, if you notice that the bleeding does not stop after applying pressure, speak to your doctor.

Nausea and Dizziness

Once completing your blood donation, you will be instructed to sit in an observation area for about fifteen minutes. During this time, you can drink water or juice, rest, and eat a small snack. This allows your body to recuperate and helps prevent any dizziness, lightheadedness, or nausea. If you do experience these side effects long after blood donation, call and speak to your doctor or to someone at the blood donation center.

Blood Donation in Nepal

Blood Transfusion Service of Nepal Red Cross Society was established in the year 1966 i.e. 3 years after the inception of the Society itself. During the initial years the service was available only for the people of Kathmandu but over the years blood banks have been established in 68 places of 48 districts of the country.

In the initial years the service was made possible through collection of blood from professional donors but since 1982 collection of blood was emphasized from voluntary non remunerated donors only. In the meanwhile serious efforts were made and are being made to collect blood from institutionalized sectors like colleges, universities, industries, clubs, governmental and nongovernmental offices. Today, blood is collected mostly from these sectors through routine motivational and collection campaigns but motivated individuals are also significant donors. The blood collection mobile teams routinely visit these institutions in the valley and in the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley to collect blood. Sometimes these teams also spread out to other adjoining districts for the purpose.

With the expansion of health services, establishments of medical colleges, government and private hospitals and Nursing homes the demand of blood is rapidly going up not only in the Valley but also in the districts.

Government of Nepal, in it’s policy declaration of 1991, has mandated Nepal Red Cross Society as the sole authority in conducting blood programmes in Nepal. Therefore, a great responsibility has fallen on the Society and to prove its capability, it is systematically strengthening itself with resources available nationally and exploring resource possibilities internationally. The Kathmandu-based Central Blood transfusion service , so far being the only referral centre for the whole country, has been planning not only to upgrade the Centre but also in upgrading regional blood centres of Biratnagar, Pokhara, Nepalgunj and Chitwan. It is also considering the possibilities of upgrading the Dharan and Dhangadhi blood centers in view of the establishments there of major hospitals and coverage area. As it stands today, there are 21 district level blood banks, emergency units in 17 and 25 hospital units of the services in the country.

His Majesty’s Government of Nepal (HMG/N) mandated Nepal Red Cross Society on Chaitra 24, 2048 BS as a sole agency to organize comprehensive blood collection, storage and supply related services in Nepal. Subsequently, a national policy on blood transfusion related services was developed and approved by HMG/N through a Cabinet decision on Bhadra 10, 2050.

Through this policy, HMG/N reiterates its mandate and commits to provide required support to Nepal Red Cross for provision and timely supply of adequate and safe blood to meet clinical needs of all people of Nepal in an equitable and affordable manner in partnership with NRCS.

Importance of Blood Donation

Donating blood is an active way of helping others and the whole of society.

For you, it’s just a few moments out of your day but for patients in need, it may save their life.

Specialist medical staff are on hand at all times during the donation, which is a simple, safe and painless procedure. There is no risk for donors of giving blood, and it will help the patients in need.

Despite medical and technological advances, blood cannot currently be made. The only way of getting hold of it is via blood donations from people who give blood.

Each donation may help up to three different people

Because each blood donation provides three different blood components, each with its own role in treating patients, it helps up to three different people.

Blood and its components have a limited life

Red blood cell concentrates can be kept for 42 days

Plasma can be stored for a year

Platelets can be kept for five days.

Because the need for blood is constant, so is the need for donations. Every day, all the hospitals and clinics in the world need blood and blood components to treat patients, since most surgical interventions and a great number of medical procedures require blood transfusions.

Transfusions of blood and blood components have become an essential part of healthcare today.

We don’t just need to give blood in the event of tragedies or emergencies. Instead, it should be a normal and routine part of our lives. Regular blood donations mean that there will be sufficient amounts of safe blood in stock.

The men can give blood up to four times a year – women up to three times -providing there are at least two months between donations.

Conclusion

Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life, or even several if your blood is separated into its components — red cells, platelets and plasma — which can be used individually for patients with specific conditions.

 

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