Columnists

It is important to donate blood every 3 months

blood donation

Every year, World Blood Donor Day is observed on June 14 to raise awareness about the need to donate blood regularly to increase the availability of safe blood and its products for patients in need.

This day is also an occasion to thank donors who volunteer to donate the life-saving gift of blood. This also acts as an encouragement for others who are otherwise hesitant to volunteer in the noble.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), blood transfusion can potentially save several lives, but many times patients needing transfusion do not have access to safe blood readily.

Many times, patients suffering from life-threatening conditions can be saved by blood donation.

For women with pregnancy and childbirth associated bleeding, children with severe anemia, patients with blood and bone marrow disorders, people with traumatic injuries in emergencies, disasters and accidents, and patients undergoing advanced medical and surgical procedures; all need blood, and in countries like Kenya, the donation rate is nowhere near sufficient to fulfill all these needs.

The demand versus supply gap when it comes to blood donation is huge in our country.

According to the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) the official blood needs for the country are 1,000,000 units of blood.

This immense requirement can only be fulfilled by voluntary blood donation.

During this year’s World Blood Donor Day the Principal Secretary for Health Susan Mochache highlighted that KNBTS used to collect about 450 pints of blood on a daily basis, but with the onset of Covid-19 disease in the country, the figures dropped by between 70 and 80 percent.

The PS noted that the demand for blood in the country has gone up mainly because of population growth, accidents and Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused an acute shortage of blood donation, as most people are shying away from the hospitals in fear of contracting the virus.

These persistent low collections have been as a result of various challenges mainly poor donation culture among Kenyans, apathy, negative myths and beliefs and low community awareness on matters of blood.

Few people think about blood until they’re at the hospital in an emergency, and learn the only thing that can save their child, husband, or themselves, from death, is a transfusion of blood. But where does the blood come from? It’s shocking, I know, but blood comes from PEOPLE. People like you and me.

With every blood donation, you are providing strength, hope and courage to patients and their families in your local hospitals, not to mention that you’re also giving your overall health a great boost. On average, a person can donate blood after every three months.

Donating blood regularly also presents a multitude of health benefits for you—the donor.

Donating blood even once a year can reduce the chances of several heart diseases—mainly heart attack by 88 per cent, according to the study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology