Blood donation should be voluntary and healthy people should donate once every three months

Blood donation should be voluntary and healthy people should donate once every three months

One unit of blood can save approximately three lives

New Delhi, January 15, 2018: As per recent data, about a million units of blood are discarded in India every year primarily due to poor storage facilities in the country. Even though there is a severe shortage of blood, only 9.9 million units are collected against the estimated annual requirement of 10 to 12 million units. An open-heart surgery needs about 6 units of blood, while a roadside accident victim could require up to 100 units.

An average healthy person can donate blood four times a year, once every three months. One unit of donated blood can save up to three lives. Estimates by the World Health Organization indicate that blood donation by 1% of a country’s population is generally sufficient to meet its basic requirements for safe blood.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate PastNational President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “One of the reasons for discarding collected blood include deterioration during storage and expiry due to outdating. Plasma forms the largest chunk of the wasted units. However, there needs to be awareness about the fact that plasma can be used for various life-saving treatments. A unit of blood (450 ml) can potentially save at least three lives. If the blood has not been segregated into its components, it can be stored for up to 35 days, when kept in CPDA anti-coagulant solution and refrigerated at 2 to 4 degrees Celsius. For segregated components, the storage time varies as follows: Platelet Concentrate – 5 days; Platelet Apherises – 5 days; Platelet Rich Plasma – 5 days; Packed Cells – 35 days; Fresh Frozen Plasma – 1 year; Cryo Anti Hemophilic Factor – 1 year; and Cryo Poor Plasma – 5 years.”


An encouraging sign is that voluntary, unpaid blood donations have risen by 10.7 million in the period between 2008 to 2013. A total of 57 countries collect 100% of their blood supply from voluntary, unpaid blood donors.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Rational blood transfusion is safe blood transfusion. Blood should be transfused only when necessary. If only one unit is required, don’t transfuse blood; if two units are required, transfuse one. If haemoglobin is more than 7, give a trial of intravenous iron first. This is also an important way to reduce transfusion-transmitted infections.”

 Few things to observe before donating blood.

  • It is important for a person to have stable blood pressure, haemoglobin, and weight to be deemed fit for blood donation.
  • Eat something light before donating blood. Avoid consumption of alcohol or smoking the night before.
  • Drink enough water or other fluids. This will help you stay hydrated as the fluids get retrieved in 24 hours post blood donation. Do not consume aerated drinks or carbonated beverages.
  • Do not exercise or perform any strenuous physical activity after donating blood as there are high chances of suffering from dizziness.

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