World blood donor day (June 14) is an annual event, usually on the same date each year, to thank voluntary blood donors, acknowledge them and encourage blood donation, especially by representing how blood donations have saved and changed lives. The Day has the slogan ‘Safe blood for all’ to raise awareness of the universal need for safe blood in the delivery of health care and the crucial roles that voluntary donations play in achieving the goal of universal health coverage.
In Bangladesh, blood transfusion service became available at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital in 1950. Blood donation in Bangladesh is an activity conducted by several different organisations. The first volunteer blood donation programme in Bangladesh begun in 1977 at Dhaka Medical College.
Transfusion of blood and blood products save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, lifesaving role in maternal and child care and during the emergency response to manmade and natural disasters.
There is myth that blood donation leads to weakness but fact is that blood donation never leads to weakness, rather brings in new energy.
A blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantity is a key component of an effective health system. An adequate supply can only be ensured through regular donations by voluntary, unpaid blood donors. However, in many countries, blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.
One of the aims of the day is to encourage younger people, who might be a bit nervous or unsure about giving blood, feel encouraged to sign up and start donating so that the donor population stays strong. It is also to highlight the need for donations to be regular in order to keep stocks and quality of blood donations high. Some blood types are rare, so promoting the need for rare donor types is also part of this event.
Many countries still have a shortage of donors, and thus World Blood Donor Day is vital to these countries to raise awareness of blood donation and thus increase supply in order to save as many lives as possible.
Almost in all health issues blood is donated by people like you and me to save lives. So not everyone can save a life but you have an opportunity, do not waste it. Donate blood and give somebody a gift of life.
The writer is a Consultant, Diabetes, Rheumatology and Family Medicine at Praava Health.