15 June 2008
New Delhi, India
By Kounteya Sinha
It does not make one prone to diseases, say experts
The 75 year old, who first donated blood in 1962, is part of a select club of centurion donors – he has donated blood over 150 times. And he has now taken on the task of propagating the benefits of frequent voluntary blood donation.
“During the 1962 Sino–Indian war, I had gone to the National Medical Academy to see a friend. To my horror, I saw an old woman lying around, waiting for somebody to donate blood because her four sons had refused. Her plight pushed me into donating blood for the first time. I realized how donating just one unit of blood can save somebody else’s life. I have been donating blood voluntarily ever since,”Kamdas told TOI.
Kamdas, who donated for the final time in 2000, added, “It’s all a myth that donating blood makes you weak or diseased. In fact, the blessings you get from the family you donate for will keep all diseases away”.
Experts say a serious shortage of people like Kamdas in India is the cause behind the country’s abysmally low voluntary blood donation rate.
India requires 9 million units of blood annually but collects only 6 million. And just 53% of this is through voluntary donation. It was 45% in 2002.
Several countries in the region fare better than India – 90% of the blood collected in Nepal is through voluntary camps while it is 95% for Thailand, 77% for Indonesia, 60% for Sri Lanka and 57% in Myanmar.
Dr Rajesh Bhatia, regional advisor to the World Health Organization on blood safety, says a person can donate blood once every three months, will have to between 18–60 years of age, should weigh not less than 45 kg and should not have suffered from HIV, Hepatitis B and C.
“Almost 47% of the blood collected in India is through replacement donors – those who give blood only when it is required by his family or friends. Voluntary donation is yet to pick up. The 450 ml of blood donated is regenerated by the body within 2–3 days. Donating blood regularly does not make you prone to diseases,” Dr Bhatia adds.
India has 2,433 blood banks,
India requires 9 million units of blood annually but collects only 6 million.
One unit of blood is 450 ml At present, 53% of all blood collected is through voluntary donation. It was 45% in ’02 India has nearly 2.5 million voluntary donors Half litre of donated blood can help save three lives.
More than 81 million units of blood are collected globally every year. WHO introduced the 100% unpaid, voluntary blood donation policy in 1997.