India faces a shortage of 10% relative to its blood requirements
The Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), which is celebrating 25 years of Perfect Health Mela this year, lauded the order from DoPT approving 4 days special casual leave each year for blood donation or apheresis donation at any licensed blood bank for all Central Government employees. The aim is towards ushering in 100% voluntary blood donation by 2020.
Every year India requires about 5 crore units of blood, out of which only a meager 2.5 crore units of blood are available. India faces a shortage of 10% relative to its blood requirements. In absolute terms, this means covering a shortfall of over 12 lakh units. Given that the eligible donor population of India is more than 512 million, this deficit is alarming.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “India has huge population of more than 1.3 billion, but is still short of blood. Blood donation is a requirement of the society. All donations should be voluntary. One should donate blood at least once in a year. Donating blood regularly has been shown in many reports to reduce chances of future heart attacks. Blood donation is also one of the best charities that one can do as it can save multiple lives through various components taken out of a single blood transfusion. The move by DoPT is a very positive one and will hopefully encourage more and more people to come forward and donate blood. My humble suggestion is that all private sector establishments should also adopt this rule.All those who are going for elective surgery should donate their blood well in advance and the same should be used at the time of surgery.”
Under the new National Blood Transfusion Council regulations, no blood is to be wasted. The surplus left over plasma is fractionated to manufacture products like albumin and intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG). The blood that is donated in voluntary blood donation should be maximally utilized.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, Vice President CMAAO, said, “Now no camp should be organized for ‘whole blood donation’. Instead components-only blood donation camps should be organized. One unit of blood collected can be used to help 3 to 4 patients, instead it is being wasted as whole blood depriving another patient in need. And, voluntary blood donation camps should be now called ‘blood component donation’ camp and not just blood donation camp. So, if the blood being donated is collected in a single bag, do not give blood. Usually two component bags are used. 100 ml bags should be promoted for pediatric use.”
Some things to consider for donating blood are as follows.
- Prepare yourself by having enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate blood.
- Avoid donating blood on an empty stomach. Eat three hours before you donate blood. Avoid fatty foods. Eat food rich in iron such as whole grains, eggs, and beef, and spinach, leafy vegetables, orange and citrus.
- Don’t consume alcohol or caffeine beverages before donating blood.
- Avoid donating blood for 6 months if you had any major surgery.