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Blood donation is more reactive than proactive

Posted by : Mr. Sreehari Nair, 12 Jun 2014 11:33 AM
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Intro: On the occasion of World Blood Donor Day on June 14, 2014 Dr. Anand Deshpande - Consultant Transfusion Medicine and Hematology talks about the need of awareness on blood and platelet donation

What is the biggest challenge that faces blood donation today?

Among the many, the biggest hurdle is getting voluntary blood donors. Typically in India one does not donate blood unless asked for. Although the percentage of voluntary donors has increased in the last couple of years, the number is still far less than compared to international figures.  This has primarily been due to lack of awareness and fear that they will contract infection when donating.

How do you think we can motivate the young?

The motivation for anybody should be the fact that their valuable donation is going to save somebody else’s life. They need to be explained about the importance of blood donation. We do regular camps at colleges and offices to encourage the young to donate. We also conduct mobile donations. There is a huge gap between demand and supply and so it is important that we get more and more donors on a regular basis.

How important is pre donation counselling?

There are many who fear that the tested blood result of the donor will be let out. It is important to let them know whatever result it is, they are always kept confidential. For first time donors there are always innumerable questions, which also need to be addressed.

What is it that you dread being at the helm of Blood Bank?

My mission is that no one should die due to lack of blood. Blood Donation is so simple yet the population at large does not come out voluntarily to donate. Time to be proactive than be reactive. Most people donate blood only when they receive a frantic call from a relative or a friend.

Apart from Blood, a lot is also being talked about Platelet donation?

Yes, every year along with blood donors we also felicitate platelet donors because platelet donation is also an important aspect. It hasn’t got much attention but a lot of education needs to be provided to the common people on the importance of platelet donation. We have people with who have donated platelets more than 85-90 times and they are our ambassadors. Unlike blood donation, one can donate platelets within a gap of five days and the shelf life of platelets is also only for five days. 

What are the new initiatives being taken at the Blood Bank at P.D.Hinduja Hospital?

In about 3% of the total population, it is very difficult to find compatible/matching blood for transfusion due to the presence of alloantibodies. These patients have to then depend only on a particular type of blood, in medical terms – Phenotype match blood. This happens more commonly in patients suffering from Thalassemia, Sickle Cell disease, Blood Cancer and any other disease condition for which they are bound to receive multiple blood transfusions. P.D. Hinduja Hospital has made provisions to identify donors whose blood exactly matches with such patient and provide safe blood for transfusion. Currently, at P.D. Hinduja Hospital, we are regularly providing phenotype matched blood to at least 15 such patients. The need of the hour today, is to develop a registry of such phenotyped donors and also provide all at risk patients with phenotyped matched blood transfusion. P.D. Hinduja Hospital aims/plans to provide this service to needy patients in the near future. 

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