Md. Arafat Rahman: World Blood Donor Day was established in 2004, serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gifts of blood. Every year on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. It is celebrated on the birthday anniversary of Karl Landsteiner on June 14, 1868. The theme of this year’s blood donor day is “Give Blood, Give Plasma, Share Life, Share Often”.
Transfusion of blood and blood products helps and save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and perinatal care. Access to safe and sufficient blood and blood products can help reduce rates of death and disability due to severe bleeding during delivery and after childbirth.
The aim is to raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion and of the critical contribution voluntary, unpaid blood donors make to national health systems. The day also provides an opportunity to call to action to governments and national health authorities to provide adequate resources and put into place systems and infrastructures to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors.
Safe blood and blood products and their transfusion are a critical aspect of care and public health. They save millions of lives and improve the health and quality of life of many patients every day. The need for blood is universal, but access to blood for all those who need it is not. Blood shortages are particularly acute in developing countries.
To ensure that everyone who needs safe blood has access to it, all countries need voluntary, unpaid donors who give blood regularly. Despite limited mobility and other challenges, blood donors in many countries have continued to donate blood and plasma to patients who need transfusion. This extraordinary effort during a time of unprecedented crisis highlights the crucial role of well-organized, committed voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors in ensuring a safe and sufficient blood supply during normal and emergency times.
The message highlights the essential contribution blood donors make to keeping the world pulsating by saving lives and improving others’ health. It reinforces the global call for more people all over the world to donate blood regularly and contribute to better health.A special focus of this year’s campaign will be the role of young people in ensuring a safe blood supply. In many countries, young people have been at the forefront of activities and initiatives aimed at achieving safe blood supplies through Young people form a large sector of the population in many societies and are generally full of idealism, enthusiasm and creativity.
In many countries, there is not an adequate supply of safe blood, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.An adequate supply can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary unpaid blood donors. The WHO’s goal is for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary unpaid donors by 2021.
Karl Landsteiner won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the ABO blood group system.A blood donation occurs when a person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for transfusions and made into biopharmaceutical medications by a process called fractionation (separation of whole-blood components). Donation may be of whole blood, or of specific components directly (the latter called apheresis). Blood banks often participate in the collection process as well as the procedures that follow it.
Today in the developed world, most blood donors are unpaid volunteers who donate blood for a community supply. In some countries, established supplies are limited and donors usually give blood when family or friends need a transfusion. Many donors donate as an act of charity, but in countries that allow paid donation some people are paid, and in some cases there are incentives other than money such as paid time off from work. People can also have blood drawn for their own future use. Donating is relatively safe, but some donors have bruising where the needle is inserted or may feel faint.
Potential donors are evaluated for anything that might make their blood unsafe to use. The screening includes testing for diseases that can be transmitted by a blood transfusion, including HIV and viral hepatitis. The donor must also answer questions about medical history and take a short physical examination to make sure the donation is not hazardous to his or her health. How often a donor can donate varies from days to months based on what component they donate and the laws of the country where the donation takes place.
Red blood cells (RBC), the most frequently used component, have a shelf life of 35–42 days at refrigerated temperatures. For long-term storage applications, this can be extended by freezing the blood with a mixture of glycerol, but this process is expensive and requires an extremely cold freezer for storage. Plasma can be stored frozen for an extended period of time and is typically given an expiration date of one year and maintaining a supply is less of a problem.
There are two main methods of obtaining blood from a donor. The most frequent is to simply take the blood from a vein as whole blood. This blood is typically separated into parts, usually red blood cells and plasma, since most recipients need only a specific component for transfusions. A typical donation is 450 milliliters of whole blood, though 500 milliliter donations are also common.
The other method is to draw blood from the donor, separate it using a centrifuge or a filter, store the desired part, and return the rest to the donor. This process is called apheresis, and it is often done with a machine specifically designed for this purpose. This process is especially common for plasma and platelets.The collected blood is usually stored in a blood bank as separate components, and some of these have short shelf lives.
There are no storage methods to keep platelets for extended periods of time, though some were being studied as of 2008. The longest shelf life used for platelets is seven days.In patients prone to iron overload, blood donation prevents the accumulation of toxic quantities. Research published in 2012 demonstrated that repeated blood donation is effective in reducing blood pressure, blood glucose, HbA1c, low-density lipoprotein/high-density lipoprotein ratio, and heart rate in patients with metabolic syndrome.