Why Should We Donate Blood?
There can be no service bigger than the gift of life. A blood donation truly is a ‘gift of life’ that a healthy individual can give to others in their community, who are sick or injured.
It takes less than an hour of one’s time, where a person can donate one unit of blood that can be separated into individual components, which can help save multiple lives.
From one unit of blood, red blood cells can be extracted for use in trauma or surgical patients. Plasma, the liquid part of blood, is administered to patients with clotting problems. The third component of blood, platelets, clot the blood when cuts or other open wounds occur and are often used in cancer and transplant patients. Cryoprecipitate is also used for clotting factors.
According to a 2012 World Health Organisation (WHO) report, only nine million units are collected annually, while the need is for 12 million units. Delhi NCR alone faces a shortage of 100,000 units per year. Studies state that there are 234 million major operations in India, 63 million trauma-induced surgeries, 31 million cancer-related procedures and 10 million pregnancy related complications, which require blood transfusions.
It’s not just the patients, the donors also have certain benefits of donating blood. Most important is the altruistic benefit of donating blood. Donors say that giving blood makes them feel good about themselves. Many of them support their local communities and hospitals as a thank you, as a gratitude and service toward their fellow human beings for the times when they or their families have needed blood transfusions in the past.
Other benefits for the donor are – the donors are less likely to suffer from certain diseases, they are less likely to suffer a heart attack and also less likely to acquire any type of cardiovascular disease, prevents iron overload, enhances the production of Red Blood Cells and improves circulation.
The blood and blood products have a shelf life, for red blood cells its 35 to 42 days, platelets its just 5 days. Hence, there is a constant need to replenish for replenishment of blood.
So, let’s ask ourselves - What is the most important thing that we did today? Maybe we took care of our family, tried our best at work, or helped a friend.
What if we can say that we helped save a life today?
So, if you are fit and wish to help with a gift that can only come from a fellow human being, come forward and pledge to become a blood donor.
Dr. Harpreet Kaur
Head of Department
Transfusion Medicine (Blood Bank)