Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life.
A decision to donate your blood can save a life or even several if your blood is separated into its components — red cells, platelets and plasma — which can be used individually for patients with specific conditions.
Safe blood saves lives and improves health. Blood transfusion is needed for:
- Women with complications in pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancies and haemorrhage before, during or after childbirth
- children with severe anaemia often resulting from malaria or malnutrition
- people with severe trauma following accidents and many surgical and cancer patients.
It is also needed for regular transfusions for people with conditions such as Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell Disease and is used to make products such as clotting factors for people with Haemophilia.
There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use. A regular blood donation by a sufficient number of healthy people is needed to ensure that safe blood will be available on the shelf whenever and wherever it is needed. Most people don’t think they will ever need blood but many do.
Let’s hear from some of the donors!
“A lot of people suffer from diseases that require blood transfusionand it’s my role to give back to them so that they get to lead a long and healthy life, if I can afford to do so.” Mars
“The day that I donate blood, I feel very energetic, and I feel very refreshed. I wish people wouldn’t be afraid of donating blood, it’s a very good feeling. You get refreshed, healthy and I believe that when you need blood, someone will help you also.” PwC
“When it comes to me, I get really scared of needles but I think that the few minutes of discomfort that I will have are negligible compared to what donating blood can do; save lives.” Mars.
“Actually I have a lot of work and I don’t have time to do anything so when the NBTS comes to my door, it’s the least I can do and it’s a very good experience and its quite interesting and I’m definitely very interested to donate again.” Microsoft
Also according to W.H.O., there are four types of blood donation:
- Voluntary unpaid donations
- Family replacement donations
- Paid donations
- Obliged donations
According to the World Health Organization, safe blood donors are the cornerstone of a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood products. The safest blood donors are voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors from low-risk populations. Despite this, family/replacement and paid donors, which are associated with a significantly higher prevalence of Transfusion-Transmissible Infections (TTIs), including HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphilis and Chagas Disease, still provide more than 50% of the blood collected in developing countries.
In Egypt, the blood supply still relies heavily on family replacement donors, which is relatively unsafe compared to voluntary donors, as shown in the graph below.
Prevalence of Transfusion – Transmissible Infections among Egyptian donors
The window period is the period of time between the moment of infection by a virus and the development of a detectable marker.
Even while testing blood for Aids Virus (HIV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), and Syphilis Bacteria, the antibodies may take a few weeks to develop after infection with the virus. If you were recently infected, you might have a negative test result, yet be able to infect the recipient of your donation. That Window Period is up to 6 month through which the diseases may not be detected in the analysis. That is why you must not give blood if you are at risk of getting any infectious diseases.
The NBTS also utilizes the Nucleic Acid Amplification Technology (NAT), which allows earlier and more specific detection of active infections in donated blood than earlier generation of serological tests, helping to ensure a safer blood supply. However, there cannot be 100% safe blood but we can minimize that risk by targeting voluntary non-remunerated blood donation through safe sources of donors.
Health benefits from donating blood: 4R
- Routine Physical Check-Up: Prior to donating blood, the medical staff on the field will conduct a thorough physical check-up on potential donors. This includes checking your blood pressure, pulse, Hemoglobin level and other vital signs.
- Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease: Every time you give blood, it lowers the iron levels in your body which can help reduce the risk of heart disease. High blood iron levels have the potential to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease because iron accelerates the oxidation process of cholesterol in the body, which damages arteries. Iron levels aren’t the only factor that plays a role in a person’s risk of heart disease, but there are certainly no downsides to lowering blood iron levels by donating blood regularly.
- Reduce the Risk of Cancer: Give blood to help lower your risk of cancer. Consistent blood donation is associated with lowered risks for cancers including liver, lung, colon, stomach and throat cancers. Risk levels dropped in correlation with how often participants donated blood.
- Replenish Blood: Help your body function more efficiently by allowing it to replenish your blood supply regularly. When you donate blood, your body replaces the blood volume (plasma) within 24 hours. Red blood cells are replaced by the bone marrow into the circulatory system within about 3-4 weeks, while the lost iron is replaced over approximately 6-8 weeks. This process of replenishment can help your body stay healthy and work more efficiently and productively.