Blood Donation is a very important aspect of Transfusion Medicine which occurs when a person voluntarily has his or her blood drawn and used for transfuse another or self. Annually, June 14 has been set aside to celebrate the World Blood Donor Day across the globe.

The importance of blood donation cannot be over-emphasized as availability of safe blood in the blood bank helps to save lives at any given time. According to the American Red Cross, donation of one pint of blood can save as many as three lives, and every two seconds, someone, such as accident victims, anaemic pregnant women, sickle cell warriors, people living with cancer, people scheduled for surgery, needs blood to survive.

Along with helping to save lives, there are a number of reasons why donating blood is important, which include the fact that blood cannot be manufactured despite medical and technological advances. So, donations are the only way we can give blood to those who need it and someday, a friend or family may need blood and it could be you, me or anyone. Also, a large percentage of the country’s population are unable to donate blood due to age, weight, low packed cell volume or not meeting up with other blood donation criteria.

Transfusion of blood saves lives and improves health, but many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. A very good example of this, is the case of a young girl who trended on social media for being shot unjustly by a Nigerian force personnel and was rushed to a hospital bleeding profusely. The bright chap eventually lost her life and this could partly be attributed to unavailability of blood for her at the said time. She, like many others could not be saved. She could be you or I or anyone out there – urgently in need of blood to live one more day.

Providing safe and adequate blood should be an integral part of every country’s national health care policy and infrastructure. Especially, in recent times such as the COVID-19 era which has led to a drastic reduction of blood in the blood bank. Just as it is here in Nigeria, so is it in other places worldwide, as the American Red Cross is also facing a blood shortage and are seeking for voluntary donors. This shortage is majorly due to the cancellations of many blood drive events which is major source of blood supply as a result of the social distancing being observed in this coronavirus pandemic. These blood shortage impact patients who constantly need blood transfusion and those who need blood urgently.

Availability of safe blood in this era can only be possible by doubling the awareness on importance and benefits of blood donation in recent times, so as to get more people to become voluntary non-remunerated blood donor. That is, one who gives blood, plasma or cellular components of his or her own free will and receives no payment, either in the form of cash or in kind which could be considered a substitute for money and would walk into the hospital by themselves to donate blood, not waiting until the hospital calls or comes out to the community for blood drives.

Donating blood doesn’t just benefit recipients. There are also health benefits for regular blood donors too, which include reducing heart disease risk, boosting blood cells production, lowering cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of stroke and iron overload (haemachromatosis). They also benefit from free medical screening.

Aside physical health benefits to donor, there are also mental health benefits. According to a report by the Mental Health Foundation, helping others by donating the blood they need can also help the donors reduce stress, rejuvenate psychologically, improve emotional well-being, get rid of negative feelings and attain a sense of belonging.

In conclusion, blood donation benefits both the giver and recipient, and most donation centers take safety precautions in ensuring the safety of both the donor and the blood. It is also not a painful procedure but however, the little needle prick pain felt is a lot more endurable than the pain of losing a loved one. So, decide today to be a hero by voluntarily donating blood to save lives.

About Author:
Abigail Senlaga (B. MLS Lagos) is an Advocate of good health and wellbeing (SDG 3).

World Health Organization Newsletter 2020.
Briana Edwards (2020) American Red Cross suffering severe blood shortage and is seeking the public’s help.
Alana Biggers (2019) The Benefits of Donating Blood.
American Red Cross (2017) The Importance of Donating Blood.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this interesting post. I will be sure to get the word out about this site 🙂 Excellent post. Cant wait to see the next blog post.

Leave A Reply