World Blood Donor Day Helps Save Lives

World Blood Donor Day takes place every June 14 and is organized by the management of the World Health Organization. The theme for this year was “Safe blood for all”.
World Blood Donor Day helps save lives

Every country in the world celebrates World Blood Donor Day on June 14. The World Health Organization (WHO) set the date in honor of researcher Landsteiner, and they wanted to strengthen the message about blood donation.

Landsteiner was an Austrian biologist born on June 14, 1868. He became known in the scientific field when he discovered how to typify blood groups based on the ABO system. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1930 for his discovery.

It is always a motto for World Blood Donor Day, “safe blood for all” was what was chosen for 2020. The goal is to raise awareness of the biosecurity measures the world must take to extract, store and transfer blood from person to person.

You have to keep in mind that blood is an element we cannot produce  artificially. Thus, the only way to be able to administer this drug to someone in need is by obtaining it through donations.

What does it mean to get safe blood?

World Blood Donor Day emphasizes not only the commitment of those who donate, but also the work of the blood banks that administer it and preserve the samples. The safety of the blood, so that receiving patients are not infected with anything, is crucial in the process.

Safe blood is a blood that does not contain pathogenic microorganisms and does not contain toxic substances. This includes viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.

Decades ago, the transmission of pathogens in donated blood was a major problem. There were cases of hepatitis C and Chagas infections due to lack of biosafety in the transfusions.

Fortunately, the control and detection systems for bacteria in donated blood have been significantly improved since then. Currently, laboratory technicians can test for several diseases after receiving blood donations. They usually test for hepatitis, human immunodeficiency virus, syphilis, Chagas’ disease and brucellosis.

Laboratories shed blood that tests positive for a disease. At the same time, the protocol involves notifying the donor so that they can receive the corresponding diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

An illustration of infected blood.
The presence of bacteria in donated blood determines its immediate destruction.

World Blood Donor Day: Safe blood is also free

World Blood Donor Day reminds us of the voluntary nature of donation. No one can force us to donate, nor should we receive a financial reward for doing so. Marketing of blood donations is illegal in all countries.

This is why security also depends on the public policy implemented to protect donors’ privacy and integrity. The action must be voluntary and altruistic and not subject to payment or profit.

However, this is difficult in the global economic context. Most blood donations are focused on high-income countries, leaving the rest of the population with less accessibility and favoring commercialization.

Who can be a blood donor?

Although donations are encouraged throughout the population, certain restrictions apply to protect donor health. In addition, to ensure the quality of the stored sample, there are groups of people who are not allowed to donate blood, such as health workers. This is because they may have unknowingly incubated an illness due to exposure in their daily work.

In terms of weight, donors should weigh over 50 kg. In terms of age, only people between the ages of 18 and 65 can donate blood. This is due to legal reasons and possible side effects which, although minimal, tend to appear in those who are too young or too old.

A person should not donate more than 3-4 times in a year. This is based on the replacement time for red blood cells, which is around 3 months. The distance between the donations gives the bone marrow enough time to recover.

Usually, someone from a team of health professionals conducts the first interview to determine the viability of the donation. A person can donate as soon as they meet the requirements.

A person who gives blood.
The safety of the blood donor and the recipient of the blood is crucial during a transfusion.

World Blood Donor Day and life-saving awareness

Giving blood may seem like a small thing. However, thanks to blood banks , it is possible to improve the survival rate in complicated surgical procedures and treat congenital hematological diseases.

World Blood Donor Day is about solidarity and recognition of those who care about others. Many of us can be donors and help in our geographic area. You may also want to go to a blood bank, they should be able to advise you on this matter.

Thanks for reading.

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