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World Blood Donor Day (WBDD): Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often

2023 Jun 15, 14:04, Kathmandu
Pic: Google

The World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) has been marked every year on June 14 since 2004, thereby encouraging pious campaigns of blood donors. The WBDD is being observed under the slogan, 'Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often' this year. The slogan is set by the World Health Organization. The Day is observed with special initiative of any country- this time, Algeria is the major host. The celebration event is being organized for the first time in South Africa's industrial and mining capital, Johannesburg. WBDD is marked on the birthday of Dr Karl Landsteiner- June 14. The Day is observed every year in honour and commemoration of scientist Dr Landsteiner who discovered the blood groups. He discovered that there are four types of blood in the human body- A+, B+, AB+, O+ (positive groups) and A-, B-, AB- and O- (negative groups).

However, it is said the blood groups are categorized into over 500 types across the globe at present. Initially, before 2038 BS in Nepal, voluntary blood donation was rare, while the number of blood donors (voluntary) has reached more than 300 thousand now. With the special initiative of the people volunteering blood donation like us, those who used to donate blood with remuneration were completely displaced since 2038/39BS. Worryingly, the National Blood Transfusion Service Policy issued by the government is allowing trading blatantly on blood of volunteer donors with billing/invoice. It is done by the government in the course of involving the private sector in blood transfusion service. It has given the wrong message that the blood of the volunteer donors is for trade and income. It is a gross anomaly. A concept paper has been prepared with a call for every healthy youth to begin blood donation from the 18th birthday. This campaign is named, 'Start 18 Stars Team U'. The campaign reflects the intent that 'I donate blood; I began donating blood; It's my social responsibility to donate blood.'

The campaign has aimed at encouraging healthy youths of higher secondary level to observe their 18th birthday by beginning blood donation. The blood can be donated every three months. The campaign has further aimed to connect and organize the youths pursuing higher secondary level education and to make effective the networking of voluntary blood donors. The drive is believed to increase the number of voluntary blood donors. If anyone entering 18 years is planning to celebrate a birthday with blood donation, even an arrangement is made at home for it. We, the voluntary blood donors, are devoted to increasing the number of such blood donors from across the country. It has resulted in facilitation of blood management. However, it is not a sustainable measure. The government needs to formulate a long term plan on blood management and enforce it accordingly. Once the plans to this regard are prepared with the involvement of voluntary blood donors, it would be effective and result-oriented. The slogan of this year WBDD makes it clear that donation of blood and plasma are important to save lives. Solidarity to this is essential. It bears significance that not only blood but also the use of blood elements- plasma- is required for treatment.

Plasma was in high demand when plasma therapy was adopted for the treatment of those suffering COVID-19 across the world. For this, plasma extracted from the blood donated by those recovered from COVID-19 was applied to treat another infected one. The plasma from other normal donors was not applied. The medical demand as per time needed has been addressed by the volunteer blood donors. The technologies invented by the scientists to use different blood elements are now in need for various sorts of treatment. This year's slogan reiterates this point. Although the technologies invented to process blood and its elements for different treatments, the volunteerism of blood doors is equally important. It is a pious humanitarian work that saves one's life.

No invention has been made to replace blood that keeps humans alive. It is still a challenge before science and scientists. The fourth national general convention of volunteer blood donors held in Butwal under the theme, 'Blood donation: A supreme work in human life' had demanded the province and local governments to provide blood distribution free of cost. It was addressed partially in the province. Even the federal government needs to provide the blood and plasma free of cost to the needy ones. It is also imperative to ensure safety to the blood donors by checking their hemoglobin before donation so that their health would not be jeopardized. Nepal government's provision of charge on blood and blood elements donated by volunteer donors has belittled the morale of volunteer blood donors. If such a trend continues to trade voluntarily donated blood, it is not sure whether 'Charpati Blood Transfusion Centre' would be brought into operation.

Similarly, if the doctors further specify the need of blood and its elements required for treatment, it would help in making facilitation more effective. Until the voluntarily donated blood and its elements are ensured quality and administered to the sick ones free of cost, it is a trade in deed. The celebration of WBDD gets further relevance once all sides concerned extend solidarity to the encouragement of voluntary blood donors, and effective blood transfusion is ensured.

(Writer Karmacharya is Chairman of Nepal Voluntary Blood Donors' Society)

(Prem Sagar Karmacharya)


World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) give blood give plasma World Health Organization Algeria Blood donation government
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