Give Blood and Keep the World Beating
World Blood Donor Day is observed around the world on June 14 and organised for the first time in 2005 and is a joint initiative of the WHO and Red Cross. The day was chosen as it is the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the man who discovered blood types and co-discovered the Rh factor. The observation provides an opportunity to bring awareness about the need for voluntary blood donation and strengthen the blood donation network. It is essential to ensure that everyone who needs safe blood has access to it. Safe blood and blood products and their transfusion are critical aspects of care and public health. Even though the blood requirement for patients is universal, the availability and access to the same are not. Blood shortages are particularly acute in developing countries.
About 40% of people have type O blood, and they are universal donors as it is safe to give it to almost anyone in a transfusion. People with type AB blood are universal recipients. If you have Rh-negative blood, you can only receive Rh-negative blood. The body regenerates the donated quantum of blood in about 60 days. When it comes to platelets, one needs only a day or two to recover.
Blood Transfusion is a vital component of health management. The timely availability of safe blood and blood products is essential in health facilities where transfusion is performed. The range of uses is way more diverse than anyone thinks. Serious injuries/surgery, Infections, Blood-related conditions (Red Blood Cell Disorders), Anaemia and Thalassemia. Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder in which the patient cannot produce haemoglobin. Regular blood transfusion is the only solution.
There are more than 13000 blood collecting centres in 169 countries, containing 106 million donations. In low-income countries, most blood transfusions are given to children under five years of age, whereas in high-income countries, it is for the patient group over 60 years of age. Counties also produce plasma-derived medicinal products through the fractionation of plasma collected, and many countries import these. WHO recommends that all blood collection, testing, processing, storage, and distribution be coordinated at the national level. It is essential that effective organisation and integrated blood supply networks? However, a lot of work yet to be done with only 123 has a national blood policy regarding regulation.
Several organisations and hospitals conduct blood donations in India. The history of blood donation in India dates to 1942 during the second world war. The first blood bank was established in Kolkata and managed by the Red Cross. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reports a 9% gap in the requirement and availability. National Voluntary Blood Donation Day is observed in India on October 1 every year. It is illegal to sell or to donate blood in exchange for money is illegal.
The COVID pandemic has disrupted many aspects of societies worldwide, and the blood donation ecosystem has explicitly been hit. Heartening to note that blood donors in many countries have continued to donate blood throughout the pandemic and have continued to donate blood to patients who need a transfusion despite limited mobility and other challenges. There is enhanced demand for plasma from those recovered from COVID-19. Many such donors came forward to meet the requirement. It is the younger generation who have been at the forefront of activities and initiatives, giving hope.