Blood donation is a life saving act. Millions of people around the world are dying because they lack proper access to blood. People with sickle anemia, leukemia, thalassemia, and hemophilia all need multiple blood transfusions to survive, and countless cancers require the same attention. In addition, operations and trauma induced injuries require huge amounts of blood to keep patients alive. Karl Landsteiner’s Birthday was two weeks ago, he discovered blood groups and made it possible to donate blood. Therefore, every June 14th is World Donation Day. More people need to step up and donate their heroic blood.
The slogan for this World Donation Day is: Safe blood is needed to Save Mothers. Over 800 million women die due to blood related complications in childbirth. There are countless complications that could cause severe bleeding during or after childbirth. With that said, if blood saves a mother, it is also saving a baby and that baby’s family. Losing a mother would shatter a family, and exponentially increase the chance of a child entering an impoverished living situation. Needless to say, families living in poverty have a much higher propensity to raise malnourished children, and worse a malnourished father struggling to raise a family on his own. With that consideration, a blood donation is a family saving act of heroism.
There are many misconceptions about donating blood. They need to be eradicated because they are based in rumor and thus need be addressed. Lives are being lost due to the plague of misinformation.
Many people fear the spread of blood borne illnesses, such HIV and Hepatitis B and C, thinking they are common among donors. WHO (World Health Organization) has a division CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organization) that is constantly checking to make sure that donation stations are keeping up to GMP (good manufacturing practices). Among the practices used to prevent the spread of diseases is the fact that a brand new packaged syringe is used for each donor.
Another misconception is that people with diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or on medications cannot donate. Anyone that does not have an insulin dependent form of diabetes can donate, though it is always wise to check with a doctor. As would be necessary for those with hypertension, high cholesterol, or on medications, but chances are that they should still be eligible.
Others assume that people can only donate once a year. That is also untrue. Anyone that is eligible for donation can donate 2-4 times a year. Though donating has a chance to leave the donor woozy, tired, and/or dizzy. This is minimized by Vitamin C and Iron rich foods beforehand, while fatty foods and carbonated beverages should be avoided. Afterwards, plenty of fluids should be ingested to re-hydrate, then Folic Acid, Vitamins B6, and B2 to return hemoglobin to normal levels.
Lastly, women assume they are ineligible to donate. While it is true that women are more likely to be deferred, due to potentially lower hemoglobin levels, and a higher propensity to have anemia, that is by no means a universal rule. 94 percent of blood donations are done by men, and there are well over 6 percent of women eligible for blood donation. Thus, the people of this planet would benefit if that donation statistic was less one-sided. The world needs heroine blood.
India has a huge blood deficit of 30 to 35 percent. Of the 8 million units, they need they only receive 5.5 million. In other words, there are potentially 9 million people dying due to lack of blood. That is 9 million families and who knows how many people, irreversibly devastated. If only two percent more of the population donates, that gap will be eradicated. This World Donation Day heroes of every country would benefit by heeding Narendra Modi’s tweets and urging the youth to donate. The world needs more safe blood donation.
By Eddie Mejia