Constant flow of donations needed to keep blood banks stocked

June 23, 2017 7:36 pm
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Man gives blood at a local blood donor drive/FILE

, KENYA, Nairobi, June 23 – I don’t like needles! You can say that again; most people don’t; but the sobering thought that each pint of blood donated can save a life will make it worth your while.

Giving blood takes nothing away from you except a few minutes of your time, and in return someone out there, someone you probably will never get to know has a chance at life.

Overview
  • Prospective donors should be healthy individuals between the ages of 16 and 65 who are not on any medication. A donor should not have been immunized or received any vaccinations for a year.
  • A tattoo, acupuncture, ear or nose piercing within last 12 months temporarily disqualifies an individual as well as a tooth extraction or extensive dental treatment within three days prior to donating.
  • Pregnancy and monthly menses also makes some women ineligible.

 

Road accidents, gun shots, assault with a knife or even a blunt object could occasion the loss of blood. In such instances, the first intervention is a blood transfusion to stabilize the patient enough to allow for treatment.

During disasters such as bomb blasts, wars and earthquakes, emergency rescue teams require ready blood units for transfusion and in such times the need is heightened.

When a patient has a low red blood cell count they may need a blood transfusion to supplement the shortage. Some medical conditions such as cancer require blood transfusion prior to initiation or continuation of treatment.

During major surgeries such as amputation, organ transfer or open heart surgery patients must have ready blood for transfusion in case they lose lot of blood.

Despite the current medical technological advancement, blood cannot be manufactured and the only way of obtaining it is through blood donation from healthy individuals. A healthy individual can donate one unit of blood (half a litre) in three months; in turn, that one unit can help up to three different patients depending on their needs.

The life span of a red blood cell is 4 months, after when it is broken down in the liver and cleaned up from the rest of the blood through the kidney. Meanwhile, the bone marrow manufactures new red blood cells as the need arises in a healthy individual. Thus those who donate and those who do not donate as long as they are both healthy, will have relatively same volume of blood!

Apart for the ‘feel good factor’, each time you donate blood, you undergo a health check-up which includes blood pressure, body-weight and height.

Your donated blood pint undergoes thorough screening for various diseases and the results are available to you; it’s like going to the clinic and getting checked for HIV, Hepatitis, Syphilis and Malaria for free.

Prospective donors should be healthy individuals between the ages of 16 and 65 who are not on any medication. A donor should not have been immunized or received any vaccinations for a year. A tattoo, acupuncture, ear or nose piercing within last 12 months temporarily disqualifies an individual as well as a tooth extraction or extensive dental treatment within three days prior to donating. Pregnancy and monthly menses also makes some women ineligible.

Every day, hospitals and clinics need blood to treat patients, since the need for blood is constant, so is the need for donations. Blood Banks are usually low on negative blood groups due to the few donors with this blood type.

At the Nairobi Hospital, the best time to ‘walk-into’ the Blood Donor Unit is between 7am- 7pm any day of the week.

In conclusion, each pint of blood saves a life! And as the saying goes, ‘Service to man is a service to God!’

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