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Op-Ed

October 1 is National Voluntary Blood Donation Day

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By EMN Updated: Sep 27, 2013 11:45 pm
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Temjenkaba

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]OTHING is comparable to the preciousness of human blood. In spite of the rapid and remarkable conquests of medical science today, there is no factory that manufactures blood. It is only in human beings that human blood is made and circulated. For those who require blood for saving their lives, sharing from other fellows is the only means.Hence, donation – rather voluntary donation is the only way of accumulating blood at safe storage to meet emergency requirements for saving lives. This is the greatest gift one can do for the mankind. Voluntary Blood Donors are saviors of mankind. If someone really loves oneself and other fellow beings, the only way to express it is to donate blood voluntarily. Donating blood means giving life to someone and it is believed that voluntary blood donors command the highest respect for their sacrifice.
The Observation of National Voluntary Blood Donation Day in our country started on October 1, 1975, under the initiative of Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immunohaematology (established on October 22, 1971) with the guidance of K.Swaroop Krishen( a well known social worker in the field of voluntary blood donation movement in India) and Dr.J.G.Jolly, the then in charge of Blood Bank, P.G.I. Chandigarh. Since then, the 1st October of each year is being observed.
In 1996, National Aids Control Organisation came forward to support the observation.
The main objectives of observing this day are:-
• To increase awareness among the peoples of this Country, the importance of voluntary blood donation.
• To achieve 100% Voluntary Blood Donation, so as to be able to give the safest blood to the needy patients.
• To have enough blood stock in our blood banks for any eventuality.
• To give our thanks and reinforce the self esteem of those who donate blood voluntarily, so that they continue to do so regularly.
• To inspire those who has not donated blood but are in good health, to start donating blood.
• To inspire those donors who donate blood only for their relatives or friends, to donate voluntarily.
It is well known that transfusion of blood or its components is one of the very important components of the modern health care system.
Many surgical and medical conditions require transfusion of blood and its components during the treatment process. Moreover in cases of mass casualties, blood transfusion played a vital role in the life saving process. But this vital fluid called blood cannot be manufactured in factories, and someone has to donate. A healthy person within the age of 18 to 65 years, having a minimum weight of 45kg and haemoglobin 12.5 gm% can donate blood for every three months, four times a year.
Blood donors are classified as voluntary and replacement. Voluntary donors are those who donate blood by his or her own will and without getting any cash or kind for donating blood and their main aim is to save a life. Replacement donors donate blood only when one of his or her relatives or friends need blood transfusion. Previously there were another type of donors known as professional or paid donors. As their blood is considered not safe for transfusion, the supreme court of this country has banned them from donating blood since 1st January 1998.

Legal Protection:
Safe blood transfusion comes under the legal protection as it is life saving and also fatal. Article 21 under part III of Indian Constitution spells out that no person shall be deprived of his life.
The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 also covers blood as a commodity. Indian Panel code chapter XIV, sections 269 and 270 also provide for protection against spread of infectious diseases due to negligent and malignant acts. Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940 also establishes regulations for blood banking and transfusions.

Criteria for blood donors as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940:-
+ Age: between 18 to 65 years.
* Body weight: 45 kg and above.
* Pulse rate: 60 to 100 per minute and regular
* Blood Pressure: Systolic 100 to180mm of mercury; Diastolic 50 to 100 mm of mercury.
* Hemoglobin: minimum 12.5gm/100ml of blood.
* Oral temperature: not exceeding 37.50C.
Though blood transfusion has saved many lives, this vital fluid also carries the risks of transmitting diseases. It is therefore mandatory to test every unit of blood collected for the presence or absence of five disease markers ( Transfusion transmitted infections) i.e. Human immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis-B, Hepatitis-C, syphilis and malaria.
To give the safest blood to the needy patients, it is globally accepted that the best source of blood for transfusion is from voluntary donations and preferably from repeated voluntary donors as blood from voluntary donations are the safest.
As a rule if a patient needs blood transfusion, a replacement donor from his or her family or friends should donate. But there are some conditions where blood transfusion is required off and on, sometimes more than 100 units to a particular patient. Then how can the family or friends can bring all the required no. of replacement donors and this gives rise to involvement of professional or paid donors disguised asreplacement donors.
So it is high time, for every sections of our society in our state to come together and join hands and to formulate strategies to achieve 100% voluntary blood donation, so that any patient who needs blood transfusion can get the required blood units from the blood centers without replacement. But it is not a magic figure to achieve 100% voluntary donation in our state. If 1% of the populations of our state donate blood once a year all the blood need of our state can be taken care of. The State Blood Transfusion Council which is under the National Blood Transfusion Council should play an active role to achieve the target.
In our North Eastern States, the state of Tripura and Mizoram are doing very well. In-spite of the mass awareness on HIV and AIDS, the general community in Nagaland is still ignorant about the importance of voluntary blood donation and safe blood transfusion. Many people still continue to acquire blood from professional blood donors which expedite the spread of HIV and AIDS in the state.
Thus the National Voluntary Blood Donation Day is planned to strengthen and expand safe voluntary blood donation programmes and to reinforce local campaigns by promoting mass based awareness from different platforms like Colleges, NGOs, Red Cross, Church, etc. Each year, as events and activities increases, the celebration will be an occasion to thank all voluntary blood donors and to acknowledge and recognize the silent and unsung heroes, whose selfless deeds save lives every day through their blood donations and improve the health of people whom they will never meet.
In our state, to increase voluntary blood donation, initiatives has been made by some likeminded donors who has come together to form Voluntary Blood Donors Associations. Till date, the districts of Kohima, Dimapur, Mokokchung, Tuensang, Zunheboto & Peren has formed the district association, with the objectives to donate blood and to facilitate those who are in need of blood. Under the guidance of Dr. T. Temsu Ao, the district associations have joint hands in forming the All Nagaland Voluntary Blood Donor Association with Dimapur Model Blood Bank as its Head Quarter in 2011.
These associations are actively involved in assisting many patients in times of need, creation of awareness, organising Voluntary Blood Donation Camp, celebration, observation of especially events like the World Blood donors Day 14th June, and National Voluntary Blood Donation Day October 1 all over the state. Such events are supported by the Nagaland
State Blood Transfusion Council (NSBTC) and the Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS) with technical support from the respective district Blood Banks. It is the result of such activities, that there is a significant increase in voluntary blood donation across the state. However, this momentum needs be maintain with the active support from the general mass.
The writer is Information Assistant, DIPR. Source: Voluntary Blood Donors Association Kohima

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By EMN Updated: Sep 27, 2013 11:45:33 pm