2 Key Reasons Why You Should Consider Donating Blood

There are many benefits to donating blood, the first of which is that you will help replenish the very necessary blood supply. As Carrington.edu points out, every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. When you donate blood, you are giving one 41,000 units of blood needed for numerous medical procedures every single day.

BenefitsofBloodDonation-Infographic

You’ll Be Helping People with Various Afflictions
While roughly 38% of the population are healthy enough and meet the criteria to donate blood, less than 10% of these people actually donate. If more people who were eligible took the time to donate a pint of blood, the shortages within the system would decrease. Each pint of blood donated makes a difference, and you can help save a life simply by taking out time in your day to donate a pint of blood.
Contrary to common belief, accident victims are not the patients who need blood donations the most. For example, 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year, and many of them require units of blood during their chemotherapy. Other medical interventions that can involve blood donations are orthopedic surgeries, organ and marrow transplants, cardiovascular surgeries, and treatment for blood disorders.

You May Improve Your Own Health
Donating blood in fact comes with some health benefits for you. Donating blood can reduce your risk of developing harmful iron stores, reduce your risk of developing certain cancers, and reduce your risk of having a heart attack by up to 88%. The time it takes to donate a pint of blood is roughly 90 minutes, from the point of registration to the time you are fed snacks and refreshments. The potentially significant reduction for your risk of a heart attack should be worth 90 minutes of your time.
Furthermore, when you are ready to donate blood, you are given a mini physical. During this physical, you may uncover a health condition that you were unaware of. This is another benefit to donating blood, as you can learn about any conditions you might have before they become a significant problem. If you are one of the 38% that can donate blood, people are depending on you to save their lives.

Blood Donation in India: What It’s Like?

As the third largest country in Asia, India has increased blood supply needs. The country needs about 6 to 7.5 million units of blood a year. In 2007, the officials of World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that there’s 3.6 million voluntary donors in India. The country achieved its highest increase in voluntary donations the next year, which reached 4.6 million.

"A man gives a pint of blood"

Voluntary Blood Donation

When the gender distribution statistics was released, it showed only 6% of females give blood while the rest of 94%  of donors were males.

Fifty percent of the total donors belong in young adulthood group (18-24 years old). While the age group 25-44 age bracket are responsible for the 29% of donations. The remaining 19% belong in the 45-65 group.

Among the 28 states in India, Tripura has the largest blood supply filling 95.3% of needs.

The 32 districts of Tamil Nadu comes in second with 9% while West Bengal sat on third with 85.1%. Punjab and Maharashtra came on fourth (84.9%) and fifth (84.8%), respectively.

The Law & the Indian Red Cross

The human blood is part of the law. It belongs to the third section B of their Drugs & Cosmetics Act.

In 1967, the Ministry of Health includes a number of requirements for blood operation. It added some of the most important requirements a blood bank should have. These requirements include accommodation, technical staff and upgrade of equipment.

The testing for HIV antibodies was made a mandatory requirement in 1989. It was in this same year when AIDS virus was widespread and the Ministry of Health was left with no better option but to become stricter with the blood testing procedures.

So, because of this alarm, the government published the National Blood Policy in 2002.

Its main objective is to provide a risk-free blood products, to improve R&D (Research & Development) and to stop blood profiteering. Earning money for blood donation was illegal.

The Supreme Court of India also gave directives to the central government that a new comprehensive legislation must be made to improve the blood banking system in the country.

The legislation was made to ensure that the collection, storage, testing and distribution were constantly in its highest quality.

Apart from the government, the Indian Red Cross also played an important role in blood donation industry.

Since the operation began in 1962, it became as the largest voluntary blood bank in the country. The IRC has more than 100 chapters and each must organize a donation camps.

Blood Crisis in India

"Fight blood shortages in India by giving blood"

Blood Shortage is Everywhere

Even with great efforts, the blood supply is still low. India experiences a shortage of 30-35% annually.

Dr. Geofrey Denis is the regional division head of International Red Cross and he openly admitted that the country needs 7.5 million blood units every year.

Perhaps, one of the main causes of this shortage is the limited number of blood banks in the northeastern states.

The Manipur and Meghalaya have less than ten banks while the territories in the union (Daman, Diu and Lakshadweep) either only have one bank or nothing at all.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the demand for blood in the country could be attained if only 1% of the population is a regular blood donor.

In fact, the organization recorded an increase of one million in unpaid blood donations in 2007 (3.6 million) and in 2008 (4.6 million).

Unsafe blood transfusion also alarms the blood donation industry.

WHO confirmed the spread of HIV and other blood diseases. Around 5 – 10% of these cases are due to unhygienic practices of transfusion such as needle-sharing and reuse of needles.

The situation caused a stir in everybody’s mind and stricter regulation of transfusion services must be implemented as soon as possible.

The three principles of blood safety in India were put into practice:

  1. Blood transfusion must be obtained through voluntary donors.
  2. The screening process of all blood products must be thorough to ensure of clean and infection-free blood product.
  3. Lastly, the usage of blood and other components must only be according to the need.

Voluntary vs. Involuntary Donation

Unpaid blood donation is always encouraged. It’s the only way of helping a lot of people without expecting something in return.

Yet, due to constant shortages in supply – a new program has to be created.

Suresh is the executive committee member of the Federation of Blood Donors Organisation of India (FBDOI) and he recommends the use of credit card system to invite more donors to donate blood.

“We have demanded introduction of the system in the state to collect more blood units from volunteers. Two years ago, the association had sent about 1,000 post cards to chief minister Naveen Patnaik from Berhampur urging him to introduce the system,” he said.

With this type of system in plan, the demand for blood products is yet to be fulfilled. This year, the expected units of blood in collection is 3 lakh, 2.24 of which comes from voluntary donation.

Rules in Blood Donation

There are certain requirements a donor has to have before donating blood. Either the donor chooses to participate in paid or unpaid blood donations, all qualifications below must be met.

"What makes you a qualified blood donor in India?"

Blood Donation Rules in India

Source:

IndianBloodDonors
The Times of India
IndiaStat.com
Daily News & Analysis
Online Journal of Health & Allied Sciences
IndianExpress
Blood Bank India
CDSCO
ZeeNews India

Types of Blood Donors

You are a donor if you give something to others. In blood donation, you can give blood if you are seventeen years old, weighs at least 110 pounds and be in your healthy shape before and during donation day. You are a qualified blood donor once you pass the examinations upon your arrival in blood bank. Apart from being qualified, a blood donor can also be one of the following:

We gave blood!

1) Voluntary Donors

Voluntary donors give blood on a regular basis (every 56 days). You make it a habit to visit the blood bank either you’re invited or not. Upon arriving at the center, you are also given top priority because you’re consistently healthy. Your profile shows no major history of contagious diseases and you show more honesty in answering test questions.

Voluntary blood donors can use this directory to contact their local blood center. They may also join the International Blood Registry.

2) Paid Donors

Somehow, the term “paid donors” is wrong. Donors aren’t paid with anything. If you get paid, that means you’re selling your plasma. Plasma is the yellow component of blood in which its collection process is called plasmapheresis.

Plasmapheresis takes more than an hour; that’s why, FDA-accredited plasma centers such as BioLife, Talecris, Octapharma Plasma Inc., CSL and Biomat USA decided to reward you after each procedure as their way of saying thank you. The amount of payment vary depending on the amount of plasma you sell, the frequency of visits and to what center you’re making a sell.

3) Potential Donors

You are labeled as a potential donor if you are recruited. Potential donors are expected to be qualified blood donors. You can pass the examinations but the only difference is – not all potential donors make it a habit to donate blood. You’re only a potential donor if you’re not a voluntary donor. Your presence is needed to prevent a major shortage in supply.

4) Universal Donors

You are labeled as universal blood donor if your blood type is O Rh- This blood type means there are no antigens in your blood and you can give blood to people with any blood type.

5) Deferred Donors

You are a deferred donor once you failed the examination. Either it’s a procedure for whole blood donation or plasmapheresis, you can be a deferred donor once you feel sick during the donation day, once you are pregnant, once you are infected with any sexual transmitted disease and once you have unprotected sexual contact with a prostitute or a stranger of the same gender.

Source: American Red Cross

About Phlebotomy

Our world today is filled with economic uncertainties. Stable jobs become scarce. Hundreds of fresh graduates remain jobless and “more than 4 million homes have been lost to foreclosure over the past five years (CNN Money, January 2012).”

Thank God, the health care industry has opened a new door of opportunity. This opportunity focuses on phlebotomy. Does this ring a bell?

Phlebotomy is no longer a new field of expertise. The act of drawing blood was already practiced by the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians long before it was also introduced in US in 18th century.

Modern phlebotomy becomes a growing career these days because of two major reasons. One is the need of laboratory workers. Hospitals, big or small, and blood donation centers like American Red Cross are constantly looking for more health care professionals who can assist in collecting, analyzing and storing blood samples. Either you’re a graduate of a four-year or two-year-course, phlebotomy might be your calling. It offers short training program that can last for four to eight months. You’ll immediately get certification after passing the exam.

Becoming a phlebotomist is a stable career. Anyone with steady hands and a mind of a doctor can surely be successful at it. To achieve its peak of success, you should clearly understand what the field of phlebotomy entails.

Scope of Phlebotomy

Phlebotomy is a medical field and it has two portions. The theoretical portion focuses on the specifics. You will learn why you are drawing blood and what are its step-by-step procedure. Mastering its safety measures, risk exposures and legal issues is also mandatory.

After the theories, you are put in real life situations. You need to know how to properly deal with all types of patients (young, old, male, female, cooperative, non-cooperative, etc) and how to stay alert in all types of emergencies (people with poor veins, your partner in shift is absent, accidents in laboratories, etc). Creating a harmonious relationship with your superiors and co-workers is also important.

Duties of Phlebotomist

The competition in any health care job is fierce. Only the excellent, the competent and those with certification are hired. A phlebotomist is no exception. Excellence in phlebotomy can never be achieved if you’re not well-aware of your duties and obligations. Apart from collecting specimen, mostly blood (also urine, feces and other bodily fluids), you can be assigned to monitor patient’s basic needs. You should direct your patient in what to do next (handing them specimen cups, assisting them to comfort rooms and answering their question) during physical examination.

How to Research for Schools

1) Look for reliable Find-A-Phlebotomy-School directory online. The online directory allows you to explore various schools in the country.

Take time figuring out to which school you’re enrolling to. Choose the one that fits your budget, the one that is closest to your home and the quality of education is in its highest standards. Phlebotomy.com offers an online directory. The link should be a big help to you.

2) When you need more assistance, it’s also better to contact the laboratory supervisor of your local community. He or she may give you a lot of options to which school you should be enrolling and what school has the highest standard education.

3) These days, there are websites that offer online training programs. As you visit these sites, it’s a need to check their policy and payment system immediately. Never forget to also read testimonials about their services before enrolling to the program. Most importantly, make sure the online program is accredited by higher institutions such as American Medical Technologists, National Phlebotomy Association, Association for Phlebotomy Technicians.

Tips & Techniques: The Blood Donation Process

There are three phases of blood donation that every donor must follow. The first phase is preparation. Here, the donor needs to eat nutritious food rich in iron such as oysters, red meat, scallops and cereals. It is also a must for him to get hydrated, stop smoking and get the right amount of sleep.

The second phase starts when you’re on your way to the blood bank. This is the right moment to calm yourself and think of happy thoughts. Take your time in answering personal questions and never feel reluctant if it asks about your sexual activities and health history. All staffs and volunteers inside a blood bank are well-trained. Any type of information you have shared to them remains confidential.

The third and final phase takes place right after the refreshments are served. Drink more fruit juices as you go home. Take a rest, relax and enjoy the feeling of knowing you save lives (Downloadable Apps). Getting a bruise is just okay as long as it lasts for only ten days. If this happens, you just need to apply a bag of ice in that area.