Blood donation refers to the process of collecting, testing, preparing, and storing blood and blood components for medical purposes, typically for transfusion to individuals who require it.
SOME KEY FACTS
- Donors are most commonly unpaid volunteers.
- Blood donors are grouped into voluntary donors and replacement donors. The safest of these is the voluntary donor blood. Blood banking is highly regulated to ensure both donor and recipient safety.
- The goal of blood banking is to provide adequate and safe blood to recipients at no risk to donors.
- As a way of attaining this goal, voluntary nonremunerated blood donation is encouraged and the World Health Organization (WHO) had set a target of achieving 100% voluntary non remunerated donation by 2020.
- Nigeria as a member nation of WHO has made little progress with voluntary donor recruitment. Only about 5% of donor bloods used in Nigeria come from voluntary donors; family replacements and paid donors are still the major sources of donor blood procurement.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO DONATE BLOOD?
To be eligible to donate whole blood, plasma or platelets, you must be:
- In good health.
- At least 16 or 17 years old, depending on the law in your state. Some states allow legal minors to donate with parent permission. While there’s no legal upper age limit, policies may vary between individual donor centers.
- At least 110 pounds (about 50 kilograms).
- Able to pass the physical and health-history assessments.
WHO IS NOT ELIGIBLE TO DONATE BLOOD?
People who fall into any of the underlisted categories should be exempted from donating blood-
- Anyone who has used injected drugs, steroids or another substance not prescribed by a health care provider in the past three months
- Men who have had sexual contact with other men in the past three months
- Anyone who has a congenital coagulation factor deficiency
- Anyone who has had a positive test for HIV
- Anyone who has engaged in sex for money or drugs in the past three months
- Anyone who, in the past 12 months, has had close contact with — lived with or had sexual contact with — a person who has viral hepatitis
- Anyone who has had babesiosis, a rare and severe tick-borne disease, or the parasitic infection Chagas’ disease
IMPORTANCE OF BLOOD DONATION
Donated blood plays a vital role in saving lives and improving the health of patients in various medical situations. Here are some key points highlighting the importance of blood donation:
- Saving Lives: Blood transfusions are essential in treating a wide range of medical conditions, including severe injuries, surgical procedures, organ transplants, and diseases such as cancer, anemia, and hemophilia. By donating blood, you can contribute to saving the lives of individuals in need.
- Meeting Demand: There is a constant need for blood as it cannot be artificially manufactured. The demand for blood is especially critical during emergencies and natural disasters. By donating blood regularly, you can help ensure that there is an adequate supply to meet these demands.
- Supporting Medical Treatments: Many medical procedures and treatments, such as chemotherapy and surgeries, require blood transfusions. Donated blood provides a lifeline for patients undergoing these treatments, as it helps replenish their blood supply and improves their chances of recovery.
- Reducing Mortality Rates: In situations where patients suffer from significant blood loss due to accidents or surgeries, timely availability of blood can be a matter of life and death. Blood donations contribute to reducing mortality rates by providing immediate access to blood for those who need it.
- Enhancing Health Outcomes: Regular blood donations have health benefits for donors as well. Donating blood can help reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular diseases, as it helps maintain healthy iron levels in the body. It also stimulates the production of new blood cells, promoting overall well-being.
- Building a Strong Community: Blood donation brings people together and creates a sense of unity and camaraderie within communities. It promotes a culture of selflessness and compassion, fostering a supportive environment for those in need.
- Raising Awareness: Blood donation campaigns raise awareness about the importance of blood donation and encourage more individuals to participate. By being part of these initiatives, you can help spread the message and inspire others to become regular blood donors.
Blood donation is a safe and well-regulated process. Before donating, individuals undergo screening to ensure the safety of both the donor and the recipient. If you are interested in donating blood, reach out to local blood banks, hospitals, or blood donation centers to find out more about the process and eligibility criteria.