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     Volume 2 Issue 4 | February 4, 2007|


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Facts about Blood & Donation

Some people think that blood donation is a serious loss from their body, which cannot be recovered. But actually they are wrong. Most people do not have clear conception on know the process of blood formation and donation.

Red blood cells are produced in our body from the bone marrow and it has a life span of 120 days after which it is regenerated. After 120 days it is broken down by our reticuloendothelial system (liver, spleen and some other organs are involved in the breaking process) and they are removed from our body through kidney. The formation and break down are continuous processes. An adult person can easily donate one bag of blood (about 350-400 ml) every four months. It is not harmful for the donor.

Who can donate blood?
If you want to donate blood you have to have some basic requirements:
* Be at least 18 years of age; upper age 60 years.
* Weight at least 47 kg for male and 45 kg for female.
* Blood pressure & pulse, body temperature would be normal.
* Be in generally good health and feeling well
* Skin: the venipuncture site should be free of any lesion or scar of needle pricks indicative of addiction to narcotics or frequent blood donations as in the case of professional blood donors.
* Be free from any blood bearing diseases like malaria, syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, C, AIDS, skin diseases, Rheumatic fever, abnormal blood losing tendency like hemophilia.
* Last date of donation is of four months back.
* For female who are not pregnant and are not in menstruation.

Who should not donate blood?
The most important thing to always remember is that by accepting your blood there is no risk of us either harming you or the patients who potentially receives your blood.

You should not donate blood if:
* You have already given blood in last 12 weeks (normally you should wait 16 weeks)
* You have a chesty cough, sore throat or active cold sore (the end of a cold is ok)
* You are currently taking antibiotics or you have just finished a course within the last seven days.
* You have had hepatitis or jaundice in the last 12 months like wise any body piercing or tattoos or you have received a blood transfusion yourself.
* If you are pregnant or you are a woman who have had a baby in the last 9 month.
You should never give blood if
* You carry the hepatitis-B virus, the hepatitis-C virus or HIV virus.
* You've ever injected yourself with drugs even once.

Blood Facts
Blood is a rich product which can be broken down into many parts. Its main components are red cells, platelets and plasma, and the plasma itself contains a variety of proteins.

All of these substances have different uses and patients will need different components depending on their own blood type and on their condition. For instance, an anaemic person will only require red cells, while a haemophiliac needs clotting factors from plasma.

Red cells last only 35 days and platelets only 5 days, so a regular supply of fresh blood is vital.

Just one half litre of donated blood can help save as many as three people's lives.

There are four main blood types: A, B, AB and O. AB is the universal recipient and O negative is the universal donor.

Blood centres often run short of type O and B blood.

While a given individual may be unable to donate, he or she may be able to recruit a suitable donor. Blood banks are always in need of volunteers to assist at blood draws or to organize blood drives.


Blood safety and donation
A global view by World Health Organization (WHO)

In the early 1990s, unsafe transfusions were estimated to be responsible for up to 10% of all HIV infections, many of them in high income countries. HIV-contaminated blood now accounts for approximately 5% of HIV infections in Africa today.

In many countries more and more testing is being done to make blood safe, but the majority of developing nations still do not carry out even the most basic mandatory tests for diseases such as HIV or hepatitis B and C. Annually, some six million tests that should be done to check for infections are not done.

Most countries still lack a nationally coordinated Blood Transfusion Service. Despite some recent improvements in this important area, fewer than 30% of countries have a well-organized service in place.

Too many countries still rely on family replacement (a member of the patient's family donating his/her blood) or paid donors. Argentina, for instance, relies heavily on replacement donors, who make up 92% of its blood supply. Although Pakistan has increased its voluntary unpaid blood donation in the last five years to 20% of its blood supply, replacement donors made up 70% and paid donors 10% of blood supplies in 2004.

Family replacement donors may feel under pressure to donate and may therefore hide aspects of their health and lifestyle, which could mean that their blood is more likely to contain infection. In the case of paid donors, governments may think that the financial incentive will motivate more donations and boost supplies, but paid donors are often pushed by need and are therefore also more likely to avoid mentioning important details about their health status.

Real improvements are being made:

In China, voluntary blood donation went from 45% of donations in 2000 to 91.3% in 2004.

Malaysia, China and India reached 100% screening of donated blood for HIV by the year 2000.

While 100% voluntary, unpaid blood donation is usually
found in high income countries in the Americas region, Cuba and Suriname, both low-income countries, represent the exceptions as they have introduced 100% voluntary donation since they created their national blood transfusion service.

In Bolivia, the establishments of a national blood programme and concerted media campaigns run by the government have brought the rate of voluntary, unpaid donations from 10% in 2002 to 50% today.

South Africa has had 100% voluntary, unpaid donation since it established a national blood service. With HIV prevalence of 23.3% in the adult population, only 0.02% of its regular blood donors have contracted HIV.

Voluntary blood donor organizations have been set up in over 50 countries. These organizations, which are managed by blood donors themselves, play an important role in blood donor recruitment and retention through peer education and promotion.

Data collected from 178 Member States showed that the number of tests not being performed for the four main markers of infection, HIV, HBV (hep B virus), HCV (hep C virus) and syphilis, decreased from 13 million in 1998- 99 to just six million in 2000 - 01.

By 2001, 123 countries were monitoring the prevalence of transfusion-transmissible infections among blood donors, compared with 98 countries in 1998-1999. This has enabled them to focus their blood donor education and recruitment activities on people who are likely to be the safest blood donors.



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