Blood is a precious gift that saves human lives and blood donation is considered as one of the noblest acts of service to humanity. Voluntary Blood Donors are the backbone of any blood donation initiative. Blood donated by them has been found to be much safer as they are mostly free from various blood transfusion transmitted diseases compared to that of donated by replacement donors.
In most of the instances, blood is collected after the need arises that does not help ensuring the safety of the blood being donated. This is one of the key reasons why we need to promote voluntary blood donation.
Due to lack of awareness, we still lag on the number of voluntary donors in India. Primary question being asked is around how blood donation impacts a donor’s health. The answer is there will be no impact on donor if the donor is a normally healthy individual since the human body has an amazing power to replace the lost fluids quickly.
Every average healthy individual carries between 65 to 75 ml of blood per kg of body weight. Therefore, on an average, we carry about 4 to 6 litres of blood. An individual can donate around 350 to 450 ml blood at a time. As a standard practice, one could potentially donate once every 3 months, which makes it 4 times a year.
In addition to the above, there are significant concerns looming around potential donors regarding diseases that one could get due to the usage of unsterilized needles in blood donation exercises. This concern is more so in developing countries where health standards are often compromised. India has taken a bold step to address this concern and triggered a major revamp in safety standards related to Voluntary Blood Donation.
As a response to this, blood safety became an important component of National AIDS Control programme and the key objectives driven out of this are Modernization of blood banks, Promotion of voluntary blood donation, Human resource development and Quality systems for blood transfusion.
Another significant step taken in connection with blood donor safety was the initiative for disclosing the transfusion-transmitted infection status to the individuals. Testing for these infections not only improves the quality of blood supply but it also serves a significant public health function of identifying individuals who are infected, provide early treatment and prevent potential transmission.
Today, there are a number of voluntary organisations that drives blood donation very actively in India. One of such organisations is Sankalp India Foundation that runs a project named ‘Raktakranti’ that has the vision to achieve 100% voluntary blood donation in the state of Karnataka.
Another project named ‘Disha’ that is run by the same volunteers is a centralised Blood Stock Information and Management System in Karnataka. Under this program, it offers a single helpline across the state to help the people who are searching for blood and can dial 9480044444 to locate the closest blood bank with the availability.
‘Think Foundation’ another similar organization based out of Mumbai has a mission statement to ensure safe blood to the one in need via voluntary blood donation. ‘Friends to support’ is a massive database that provides the list of voluntary blood donors across 7 different countries in Asia. Based on the need related to specific locations, this community organization helps the needy ones.
While there are a number of such drives are there across the country, we still don’t meet the daily demand for blood in our country. The need of the hour is to build a vibrant, active and social movement throughout the length and breadth of our land to raise awareness amongst the population for donating blood by motivating every healthy person to come forward and give blood voluntarily and regularly.
Research shows that blood donation has many benefits. It burns calories, reduces iron toxicity and more importantly gives the donor happiness for being instrumental in making a difference to the society? Aren’t they reasons enough?