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World Blood Donor Day June 14

14-06-2017 05:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream

World Blood Donor Day June 14 | My Indian Dream

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As blood transfusion saves life and improves health, World Blood Donor day is celebrated every year on June 14 to create awareness about the need for efficiently-managed and sustainable blood and plasma programmes in every country with the aim of achieving self-sufficiency.

We have heard about many lives being saved as blood banks come to the aid of those in dire need of blood in an emergency situation which might arise out of medical conditions or accidents and natural disasters.

Blood Donation by even 1% of the population can meet a nation’s most basic requirements for blood. Therefore we have numerous campaigns encouraging people to donate blood.

World Blood Donor Day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO). It was initiated in 2004 and aims to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gifts of blood.

Many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. It gives rise to a precarious situation where a person’s life is at risk. Therefore, providing safe and adequate blood should be an integral part of every country’s national health care policy and infrastructure.

There are 3 types of blood donors - voluntary unpaid, family/replacement and paid.  Out of these, the voluntary unpaid donors are considered to be the most reliable and safe ones as the prevalence of blood borne infections is lowest in this group.

 The WHO urges all member states to develop national blood systems based on voluntary unpaid donations and to work towards the goal of self-sufficiency.

‘Whole blood transfusion’ is widely followed throughout the world where blood is collected in an anticoagulant which is stored and transfused to a patient in an unmodified state. However, blood can be used more effectively if it is processed into components, such as red cell concentrates, platelet concentrates, plasma and cryoprecipitate so that more patients can be benefited.

 In wake of the possibility of diseases transmitted through blood transfusions, WHO has recommended the development of systems, such as hospitals transfusion committees and haemovigilance, to monitor and improve the safety of transfusion processes. Good transfusion practices are the need of the hour as it will encourage more people to donate blood.

This year’s campaign centres on blood donation in emergencies. During a crisis, the natural human response is "What can I do? How can I help?". Therefore, this year’s slogan is – What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often.

The objectives of this year’s campaign are as follows -

  • to encourage all people to strengthen the emergency preparedness of health services in their community by donating blood;
  • to engage authorities in the establishment of effective national blood donor programmes with the capacity to respond promptly to the increase in blood demand during emergencies;
  • to promote the inclusion of blood transfusion services in national emergency preparedness and response activities;
  • to build wider public awareness of the need for committed, year-round blood donation, in order to maintain adequate supplies and achieve a national self-sufficiency of blood;
  • to celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood regularly and to encourage young people to become new donors as well;
  • to promote international collaboration and to ensure worldwide dissemination of and consensus on the principles of voluntary non-remunerated donation, while increasing blood safety and availability.

The campaign draws attention to the important contribution that each person can make in helping their fellow countrymen in emergency situations by giving the valuable gift of blood. It also stresses on the need to give blood regularly, so that the blood stock is sufficient before an emergency arises.

Back home, a biotech engineer, Sanjay Bapat from Mumbai has felicitated ahead of Blood Donor day for achieving a rare feat of donating platelets 270 times in the last 11 years. He is an epitome of altruism. The world needs many such good samaritans like him.  

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