• Friday, Dec 06, 2019
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Donate blood, save life

  • Published at 12:02 am June 15th, 2019
Blood donation-Rajib Dhar-Dhaka Tribune
The photo shows a man donating blood at a voluntary blood donation program in Dhaka Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

This year, like the previous ones, the World Blood Donor Day will be observed Saturday (June 14), with the slogan 'Safe blood for all'

The 1999 bomb blast at an event of Bangladesh Udichi Shilpigoshthi made Aminul Sujan realize that donating blood is no less than financially helping the people in need.

The program officer of National Tobacco Cell was involved with cultural group Udichi at the time of the incident, and seeing his colleagues suffering from pain and trauma left a deep mark in his heart.

Ten people were killed, and more than 100 hundred others injured, after two powerful bombs went off during Udichi’s 12th national conference in Jessore on March 6, 1999.

“The blast victims were sent to the Pongu hospital [National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR)] in Dhaka. I was a volunteer for Udichi. At that time, I could not help them financially as I was a student, and earning the bare minimum to get by,” said Aminul.

“But I figured that I am healthy, and I can donate blood to the victims, and I did that,” he said.

“Since then, I have donated blood 37 times up until this February,” he added.

Abdur Rashid Arnab, the public relations officer of Jessore University of Science and Technology, has been donating blood since 2007.

Arnab decided to do that because he had understood the suffering of those in need of blood. “I went through a very hard time finding donors for my brother when he was suffering from dengue fever.”

World Blood Donor Day Saturday

This year, like the previous ones, the World Blood Donor Day will be observed Saturday (June 14), with the slogan “Safe blood for all” — aimed at creating awareness on the need for safe blood, and the crucial roles of volunteer blood donors.

However, there was a slight decline in voluntary blood donation is Bangladesh in 2018 compared to that of 2017. Women are less likely to donate blood compared to men, according to experts.

As per Safe Blood Transfusion and Thalassemia Management, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), in 2018 a total of 7,73,383 bags of blood were donated. Of those, 1,72,291 were voluntary while 6,01,092 came from relatives of the patients.

A total of 7,92,993 bags of bloods were donated in 2017. Of them, 2,10,466 were voluntary, and 5,82,527 came from relatives of the patients.

According to the DGHS, the data are taken from the government hospitals, and some private blood donation organizations. However, data from private hospitals are not listed here.

Bangladesh needs some 10 to 12 lakh bags of blood each year

Every year, Bangladesh needs around 10 to 12 lakh bags of blood, according to DGHS.

Till date, several myths and misconceptions refrained people, particularly women, from donating blood, said Dr Shabyasachi Nath, deputy program manager of Safe Blood Transfusion and Thalassemia Management, DGHS.

“If you are healthy and aged between 18 and 45, it doesn't matter if you are a male or female,” he said, adding, most of the blood donors he sees are male.

However, women should refrain from donating blood during their menstrual cycle, he added.

As per Quantum Voluntary Blood Donation Program, a total of 55157 male donors donated blood voluntarily, whereas only 5223 females donated blood in 2018.

Syeda Anonna Rahman, a blood donor, said it is true that sometimes women are scared to donate blood. "However, blood donation is a noble act which can save lives, and I will keep doing it," she continued.

“My family often tried to discourage me from donating blood because they fear I might get infected with diseases. So, I donate blood without letting them know,” said Syeda.

Another issue that people hardly talk about is that sometimes patients or their family do not want to take blood from a donor from a different religion, said Nath.

Dr. Moniruzzaman, coordinator of Voluntary Blood Donation Program, Quantum Foundation, said they collect minimum five to maximum 35 bags of blood everyday through blood camps.

Mostafa Monowar Akib, 25, started donating blood when his friend’s mother needed blood, and they were having a hard time finding a donor for that particular blood group.

Mostafa wants to donate blood as long as he is fit to be a blood donor.

Who shouldn’t donate blood?

If somebody has a bloodborne disease, such as certain STDs like gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV positive, hepatitis B or C carrier, are on certain medications, they should refrain from donating blood, and women should refrain from donating blood during their menstrual cycle.

If you have been travelling recently that may also affect your ability to donate blood. 

Who can donate blood?

Most people who are fit, and healthy can give blood. According to the WHO, you have to be between the ages of 18 and 66 to give blood. You can also give blood if you are over 70 and have donated in the last two years. 

To donate blood, you must weigh between 50kg and 160kg. You must also wait at least 24 hours after having work done at the dentist, and for those who have recently had tattoos or piercings done, must have to wait for at least four months.