With the average blood donation rate in India being lower than in many high-income countries — leading to a shortfall in quantum and access to safe blood— initiatives taken by each state to improve the donations and appreciate the donors are considered to be the need of the hour.
The Tamil Nadu Health department’s plans to continue its system of allotting separate funds to give certificates of appreciation to Voluntary Blood Donors (VBDs) to motivate donation is well appreciated.
“While Tamil Nadu already has the highest number of blood donations, we feel that it is important to appreciate the services of the donors. However, there is never enough blood that a state has. Taking the example of anaemic mothers; they can be given various forms of medication. But if the medication fails, blood has to be given.
The state has over 10 lakh mothers, therefore the amount of blood required for emergency anaemia correction itself is very high,” said Darez Ahmed, Director, National Health Mission. Though not a new initiative, the government’s move to allot funds each year for the same is welcome.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) advocates collecting one per cent of total population for blood requirements as minimum requirement, which means around 7.9 lakh from the state, a target which we have achieved. However, if we want to retain VBDs, we need to motivate them. Therefore, if certificates of appreciation are given to all VBDs across the state, we will definitely see a rise in the number of donations,” said Dr K Senthil Raj, Director, Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS).
While hospitals and individual blood banks see many VBDs on a regular basis, that alone can not meet their monthly needs. Hospitals, therefore conduct mobile camps for the same. “There are various reasons why people are unwilling to donate and the fear of needles is one.
Also, people who faint once tell several others about their experience, which discourages others. It has scientifically been proven that one does not get particularly weak after donating blood,” said a blood bank official. While there are two kinds of donations, namely VBD and Replacement donation, it is said that besides being considered safe, VBD is preferred to the latter, wherein the patient’s family member or friend donates blood under exigent circumstances.
WHO believes that VBD is the only hope for overcoming the blood shortage crisis. The organization has been hoping to achieve 100 per cent VBD across the world since 2010. “Through VBD, we create a repository of blood, and provide it to patients as and when it is required. In the case of replacement donation, family members must go through hassles of having to hunt down a donor with a matching blood group. There is also the need to ensure the consistent supply of blood during medical procedures and this could be jeopardised in the event of a delay in finding a donor. VBD helps prevent a crisis of blood at hospitals,” said Dr K Selvan, a Hematologist.
ALL FOR DONORS
Smart cards given to blood donors to encourage donations.
Giving donors certificates of appreciation.
Metro blood bank to be launched in Chennai soon.
Plan for a state-of-theart centre of excellence in transfusion medicine Mobile app, with details of blood banks and donors.