World blood donor day is celebrated every year on June 14th to commemorate the birthday anniversary of Karl Landsteiner, the scientist who won the Nobel prize for his great discovery of the ABO blood group system. Practised since 2004, this day serves to fulfill needs of blood transfusion and blood products transfusion to the needy worldwide. Millions of people across the globe benefit from this campaign which serves to spread happiness and health through its contribution to thousands of complex medical procedures and surgeries. Pregnant women during their pre- and post-pregnancy complications are saved and cared safely during emergency response to any disaster with the help of donated blood.
2018 Campaign Goal
The host country for this year is Greece and the theme is ‘Blood connects us all.’ Blood donation is an act of selflessness, harmony, empathy and respect, all of which are needed for the smooth functioning of unpaid blood donation camps. The slogan adopted by WHO for this year’s campaign ‘Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life” says it all-to be kind to one and all, generate social ties and live together in harmony as a community. Campaigns arranged serve as a motivating factor to various people-those who are already giving blood to continue doing so by telecasting life-saving stories of people who have received blood through campaigns and also serve as a driving factor to people in good health to come forward and donate blood. Meetings, scientific events, publication of relevant stories and other activities that promote the theme of blood donation are arranged each year.
Who Can Donate?
While most people can donate, there are certain clauses that must be adhered to before you make yourself eligible for donation. Guidelines for blood donation include:
People with the following criteria must refrain from donating blood:
Pre- & Post-Donation Guidelines
What Happens to Your Donated Blood?
The donated blood is used to save lives of millions of people such as anemic kids, women with severe anemia, accident victims with excess blood loss, cancer patients, thalassemia patients, people with sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, blood disorders, clotting disorders and more. When the needy people lack access to donation they face life-threatening challenges. We can ensure enough blood supply only when people are self-motivated to donate blood as an unpaid service.
James Harrison, a blood plasma donor from Australia is also called as the ‘Man with the Golden Arm’ for his altruistic blood donation for a period of 60 years saving more than 2.4 million unborn babies. His blood has an unusual plasma composition that has been used treat Rhesus disease. This selfless man ‘retired’ from being a blood donor (Australian policy prohibits blood donation beyond the age of 81) making his last blood donation on May 11th, 2018. He pledged to donate blood after recovering from a life-threatening condition with the help of blood transfusion from other blood donors. Staying true to his pledge, he has done his level-best to save lives of other people, including his grandchild. James Harrison is an example for all of us to learn from situations and remains as a motivating factor for people to come forward and save lives.
We might hear that blood donations help a person lose weight and there is also a study done by the University of California researchers which shows that donating one pint of blood (450ml) helps the body burn about 650 calories. But this can never be used as a means for weight loss as it can cause devastating effects on the body when carried out in an uncontrolled manner.
While blood donation remains a safe procedure that causes no harm to the donor when done under sterile conditions, it is always better to consult your doctor before choosing to donate blood.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.