Donate blood, save life

The Bausher Blood Bank (BBB) recently made an “urgent” appeal to the people to donate blood as there is a “serious dearth of blood” in the Sultanate.
The message, sent out by the bank, which comes under the Department of Blood Services at the Ministry of Health, said due to the decline in the number of blood donors, there is an increase in the need for blood.
It urged everyone to donate blood at the bank, which is the central blood bank.
Now, this begs for an answer. What is the reason for the shortage of blood? And why do many people refrain from donating blood?
According to Dr Mohammed Arif, a haematologist, while there could be many factors, “fear and reluctance are two main reasons” behind this.
“As far as expatriates are concerned, they might have been on vacation or have just returned from vacation. Those who have just come back cannot donate and that must have increased the scarcity,” he adds.
Experts say while donating blood can save precious lives, the same gets “replenished” in our system very quickly. This stimulates the production of new blood cells and, in turn, helps maintain good health.
The benefits of blood donation are manifold. It not only helps improve the receiver’s health, but also helps the donor maintain good health.
Blood donation is expected to reduce the risk of cancer. The chances of a person getting inflicted by haemochromatosis is minimal for a donor. Haemochromatosis is a disease in which too much iron builds up in the body. Too much iron is toxic for the body. It can poison the organs and cause organ failure.
Additionally, blood donation helps reduce the risk of damage to the liver and pancreas, besides improving cardiovascular health. It’s also good for the heart and kidney.
Donating blood is expected to help those who are obese and at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health disorders. However, for them, blood donation needn’t be too frequent. It’s advisable that they consult a doctor before donating blood.
Bausher Blood Bank’s message said there is a “real need” for O, A, B+ and O+ group of blood as there are patients requiring the same urgently.
The message holds significance at a time when the holy month of Ramadhan is round the corner. During the month, blood donations come down by 75 per cent.
While it is “absolutely safe” to donate blood during Ramadhan, experts, however, say it is better for a fasting person to donate blood post-iftar for medical reasons.
On the other hand, the bank maintains sufficient stock of blood for distribution among hospitals although there is a shortage of supply during the month.
Hence, the department runs mobile blood collection units that visit mosques during these days as part of its blood donation drive.