Activism

More Blood More Life

More Blood More Life

ABHINAY KUMAR SHARMA writes: The World Health Organization and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies initiated World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) in 2004. It takes place on June 14 each year and provides an opportunity for a united, national and global celebration on a day that has particular significance-the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel Prize winner who discovered the ABO blood group system.The theme for World Blood Donor Day 2011 is, “More blood. More life.” This theme reinforces the urgent need for more people all over the world to become lifesavers by volunteering to donate blood regularly. The Global Network for Blood Donation, a Rotarian Action Group (GNBD), liaises with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations (IFBDO/FIODS) and the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT), which jointly are sponsoring the WBDD.

The need for safe and secure supplies of blood and blood products is universal. Worldwide, at least 90 million units of blood are donated each year to save lives and improve health. However, demand for blood for transfusion continues to increase, and many countries cannot meet existing needs. In many regions, this means inadequate supplies to replace blood lost in childbirth (a major cause of maternal deaths) and to treat anemia that threatens the lives of children who have malaria or are undernourished. Everywhere, blood and blood products are needed for routine and emergency surgery, including life-saving treatment for growing numbers of people injured in road traffic accidents, and for treating congenital blood disorders.

Globally, more than 70 countries have blood donation rates less than what is generally considered necessary to meet a nation’s basic requirements for blood, namely 1% of the population; the requirements are higher in countries with advanced health care systems. Even countries with higher donation rates often struggle to maintain blood stocks that are sufficient to meet the requirements for a range of increasingly sophisticated medical and surgical procedures. A stable base of voluntary unpaid blood donors who give regularly is the foundation of a safe and adequate blood supply. In addition, evidence shows that voluntary donors are at lower risk of transmitting life-threatening infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C through their blood than family and replacement donors and, especially, paid donors.

Today, 57 countries have achieved 100 per cent voluntary blood donation, up from 39 in 2002. The scale and volume of World Blood Donor Day events increases every year. This is the first time that the global World Blood Donor Day event will be hosted in Latin America and the Government of Argentina welcomes the challenge! 2011 World blood donor day campaign is “Paint the World red”. The world today honors voluntary blood donors for their priceless contribution to their communities.”A sufficient, safe blood supply is a key part of an effective health care system and essential for disease prevention,” says LEE Jong-Wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “In our work to increase access to treatment for people living with AIDS around the world, safe blood is a crucial part of our prevention and care strategy.”

The basis for an adequate supply of safe blood is a pool of healthy, regular, voluntary donors who give blood without financial or other reward. Research has shown that donors who give blood of their own free will without the expectation of payment are the ‘safest’ donors. However, a recent WHO survey shows that out of 178 countries, only 39 have 100% voluntary, unpaid blood donation.89% of low and medium Human Development Index (HDI) countries rely on family replacement donations (where a member of the patient’s family has to replace the units of blood given to the patient) and paid donations. In those countries, the sero prevalence for transfusion-transmissible infections (HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis) in blood donors is much higher than in countries with full voluntary, unpaid donations. World Blood Donor Day is a celebration of the unsung heroes directly responsible for saving or improving the lives of millions of patients. More fundamentally, it is an urgent invitation to people, particularly young people, to make responsible choices, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and give blood regularly.

National Blood Policy (India)

A well-organized Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) is a vital component of any health care delivery system. An integrated strategy for Blood Safety is required for elimination of transfusion-transmitted infections and for provision of safe and adequate blood transfusion services to the people. The main component of an integrated strategy include collection of blood only from voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors, screening for all transfusion transmitted infections and reduction of unnecessary transfusion. The Blood Transfusion Service in the country is highly decentralized and lacks many vital resources like manpower, adequate infrastructure and financial base. The main issue, which plagues blood banking system in the country, is fragmented management. The standards vary from State to State, cities to cities and centre to centre in the same city. In spite of hospital-based system, many large hospitals and nursing homes do not have their own blood banks and this has led to proliferation of stand-alone private blood banks.

The blood component production/availability and utilization is extremely limited. There is shortage of trained health-care professionals in the field of transfusion medicine. For quality, safety and efficacy of blood and blood products, well-equipped blood centers with adequate infrastructure and trained manpower is an essential requirement. For effective clinical use of blood, it is necessary to train clinical staff. To attain maximum safety, the requirements of good manufacturing practices and implementation of quality system moving towards total quality management, have posed a challenge to the organization and management of blood transfusion service.

Thus, a need for modification and change in the blood transfusion service has necessitated formulation of a National Blood Policy and development of a National Blood Program which will also ensure implementation of the directives of  Supreme Court of India – 1996.

Objectives of the Policy

To achieve the above aim, the following objectives are drawn:

1.To reiterate firmly the Govt. commitment to provide safe and adequate quantity of blood, blood components and blood products.

2.To make available adequate resources to develop and re-organize the blood transfusion services in the entire country.

3.To make latest technology available for operating the blood transfusion services and ensure its functioning in an updated manner.

4. To launch extensive awareness program for donor information, education, motivation, recruitment and retention in order to ensure adequate availability of safe blood.

5. To encourage appropriate clinical use of blood and blood products.

6. To strengthen the manpower through human resource development.

7. To encourage Research & Development in the field of Transfusion Medicine and related technology.

8. To take adequate regulatory and legislative steps for monitoring and evaluation of blood transfusion services and to take steps to eliminate profiteering in blood banks.

Blood Safety and Informing Donors of their HIV status

In India, government regulations require all blood banks to be licensed and monitored for supply of safe blood. All donated blood is subjected to mandatory testing for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, malaria and syphilis. Any blood unit found to be positive for any of the mentioned infections is discarded. For HIV, only a single ELISA test is conducted for blood banking purposes and any blood unit found sero-positive on this single test is discarded. This is not a confirmation of HIV infection in the donor. Confirmation of HIV in an individual is through three tests repeated on the same blood sample. This confirmation is conducted at Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centre (VCTC) separately established at various tertiary and district hospitals and NGO and private sector health facilities. The existing policy of the Government envisaged revelation of HIV status only to result seeking blood donors. This policy decision was taken in 2003 when there was a great need to encourage voluntary blood donation, which is gradually picking up in the country.

Hence with, we can realize that blood donation is very intrinsic process because we have no alternate of blood gifted by god. Moreover, Voluntary blood donation is the divine activity because we are giving life to person in form of god whose life is in endangered. In the accordance with theme, National AIDS Control Organization is motivating many communities all across the country through State AIDS Control Societies, different non-government organizations and various local communities to join the World Blood Donor Day 2011 campaign. The campaign says “Paint the world red” and the message is conveyed through lighting or covering monuments, symbolic coloring popular landmarks and buildings in red, forming a “human blood drop” in public places or by organizing programs in an artistic or musical way with a red colored theme, organizing voluntary blood donations camps as well in comprehensive manner.

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