“Anybody can donate blood, everyone can save lives”. Today is World Blood Donor Day. It’s an initiative by the World Health Organization (WHO). Every year, this day is commemorated on June 14 with the aim to raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and its byproducts for transfusion and of the critical contribution voluntary, unpaid blood donors make to national health systems.
This day brings the national health authorities and governments together to provide adequate resources and put into place infrastructures and systems to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, and non-remunerated blood donors.
Blood shortages are particularly acute in developing countries. The need for blood is universal, but access to blood for all those who need it is not. Safe blood and its byproducts and their transfusion are critical aspects of care and public health. Donating blood saves millions of lives and improves the health and quality of life of many patients every day. The Theme for World Blood Donor Day 2022 is “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives". It is focused on highlighting the importance of voluntary blood donation. The theme aims to highlight the need for committed donors to regular year- blood donation, to maintain adequate supplies and achieve universal and timely access to safe blood transfusion.
Here’s what you need to know about blood donation
There are 4 main blood groups (types of blood) – A, B, AB and O. Your blood group is determined by the genes you inherit from your parents. Each group can be either RhD positive or RhD negative, which means in total there are 8 blood groups.
The transfusable components that can be derived from donated blood are red cells, platelets, plasma, cryoprecipitated AHF (cryo), and granulocytes. An additional component, white cells, is often removed from donated blood before transfusion.
How can one donation help multiple people?
In modern medical treatments, patients may receive a pint of whole blood or just the specific components of the blood that are needed to treat their particular condition. This approach to treatment, referred to as blood component therapy, allows several patients to benefit from one pint of donated whole blood.
Giving the “right” type of blood donation – based on your blood type and patient needs – helps ensure the best use of your valuable contribution.
According to the American Red Cross, “During an AB Elite donation, you give plasma, and a part of your blood used to treat patients in emergency situations. AB plasma can be given to anyone regardless of their blood type. Plasma is collected through an automated process that separates plasma from other blood components, then safely and comfortably returns your red blood cells and platelets to you. AB Elite maximises your donation and takes just a few minutes longer than donating blood. The amount of plasma you can donate is based on your body weight.”
Who it helps: AB Plasma is used in emergency and trauma situations to help stop bleeding.
Ideal blood types: AB positive, AB negative
Donation frequency: Every 28 days, up to 13 times/year
Time it takes: About 1 hour and 15 minutes
Platelets are tiny cells in your blood that form clots and stop bleeding. Platelets are most often used by cancer patients and others facing life-threatening illnesses and injuries.
According to the American Red Cross, “In a platelet donation, an apheresis machine collects your platelets along with some plasma, returning your red cells and most of the plasma back to you. A single donation of platelets can yield several transfusable units, whereas it takes about five whole blood donations to make up a single transfusable unit of platelets.”
Who it helps: Platelets are a vital element of cancer treatments and organ transplant procedures, as well as other surgical procedures.
Time it takes: About 2.5-3 hours
Ideal blood types: A positive, A negative, B positive, O positive, AB positive and AB negative
Donation frequency: Every 7 days, up to 24 times/year
Power Red Donation
According to the American Red Cross, “During a Power Red donation, you give a concentrated dose of red cells, the part of your blood used every day for those needing transfusions as part of their care. This type of donation uses an automated process that separates your red blood cells from the other blood components, and then safely and comfortably returns your plasma and platelets to you."
Who it helps: Red cells from a Power Red donation are typically given to trauma patients, newborns and emergency transfusions during birth, people with sickle cell anemia, and anyone suffering blood loss.
Time it takes: About 1.5 hours
Ideal blood types: O positive, O negative, A negative, and B negative
Donation frequency: Every 112 days, up to 3 times/year
Whole Blood Donation
“Whole blood is the most flexible type of donation. It can be transfused in its original form, or used to help multiple people when separated into its specific components of red cells, plasma and platelets," the Red Cross said.
Who it helps: Whole blood is frequently given to trauma patients and people undergoing surgery.
Time it takes: About 1 hour
Ideal blood types: All blood types
Donation frequency: Every 56 days
Before donating blood, one must be healthy and should ensure they meet the basic eligibility criteria. Blood donation is a small act of kindness, yet it is live-saving. Donate blood, become a saviour!
This article is a replug on World Blood Donor Day