Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Priceless Gift Of Life!

Robin O’Reilly of South Africa started donating blood in 1965 when he had just finished school, and has had a passion for it ever since. On Tuesday, June 6, he donated for the 325th time! A record of sorts.

Robin is turning 70 this November. “I feel good after donating – it’s like a detox for the blood. Also, there are plenty of people out there in need of blood and this is my way of helping,” he says.

Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors like Robin for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need.

Transfusion of blood and blood products helps 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 child care and during man-made and natural disasters.

However, in many countries, demand exceeds supply, 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. WHO’s goal is for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary, unpaid donors by 2020.

Today, only 62 countries get close to 100% of their national blood supplies from voluntary unpaid blood donations, with 40 countries still dependent on family donors and even paid donors.

The objectives of 2017 World Blood Donor Day include:
  • thank blood donors for their life-saving gift of blood and highlight the theme of blood connecting us all
  • create wider public awareness of the need for regular, unpaid blood donation, and inspire those who have not yet donated blood to start donating, particularly young people in good health
  • promote and highlight the need to share life by donating blood
  • focus attention on blood services as a community service, and the importance of community participation for a sufficient, safe and sustainable blood supply
  • persuade ministries of health to show their appreciation to regular voluntary unpaid donors and commit to self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products based on 100% voluntary, unpaid donations.
  • of the 112.5 million blood donations collected globally, approximately half of these are collected in high-income countries, home to 19% of the world’s population.

In low-income countries, up to 65% of blood transfusions are given to children under 5 years of age; whereas in high-income countries, the most frequently transfused patient group is over 65 years of age, accounting for up to 76% of all transfusions.

Based on samples of 1000 people, the blood donation rate is 32.1 donations in high-income countries, 14.9 donations in upper-middle-income countries, 7.8 donations in lower-middle-income countries and 4.6 donations in low-income countries.

We would like to call on all Indians to donate blood. So many people in life-threatening situations require blood. One simple action can make a huge difference. For the donor, it’s a few minutes every 56 days. For the recipient, it’s helping them live so they can create a lifetime of memories. Become a donor, it’s not just blood. It’s saving a nation.

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