World Blood Donation Day: Your act can decide the life and death of patients with rare diseases, urg

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Let me weave in a bit of history here to give you a perspective on how far we have come in medical science and when the current leap of modern medicine really began.

The first transfusion of human blood for the treatment of haemorrhage was performed by Dr James Blundell in London in 1818. The first blood bank was established in Leningrad in 1932, and the first blood bank in the United States opened at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital in 1937.

By the way, 1818 was when the British East India Company (EIC) inflicted a humiliating defeat upon the last Peshwa – Bajirao II (the grandson of the valorous Bajirao I) and forced him to surrender and accept a pensionable retirement in faraway Bithoor. The EIC had finally crushed the biggest of the Maratha powers.

So, back to the present era, we now take blood transfusion for granted and rest assured that the doctors have figured out all the intricacies of such a complex procedure – that if they did not have the proper knowledge of the several factors involved such as blood group compatibility, rhesus factor etc, we would see medical emergencies and complications instead of healing.

But we must dig deeper to know how important blood donation is for the welfare of human society, as well as our own wellbeing. You may have friends or family members who require donated blood or constituents of blood to be infused into their body as a life-saving measure someday. That is when one realises how difficult it is to get the exact specification in the blood bank.

World Blood Donor Day 2022: World Blood Donor Day, observed on the 14th of June every year, is imperative to ensure that all individuals and communities can gain access to timely and affordable supplies of safe and quality-assertive blood, says Dr Prabhat Sharma, Group Head, Pathology, Shalby Multispecialty Hospitals.

Dr Prabhat Sharma draws our attention to those who regularly need blood transfusions due to a chronic or terminal disease they are fighting.

Those with rare blood groups must donate blood:
“There are also various types of blood groups, some are more common than others. Donating blood is not only vital to save lives but also to help many more fight various diseases. While it is important for all common eight blood groups to donate blood, there is a pressing need for people with rare blood groups to step forward,” he says.

According to a NACO report in 2019, India was in a deficit of 4 million units of blood. But this did not account for the need versus demand based on the region and the deficit of rare blood groups. Additionally, there are certain rare diseases that require regular blood transfusions. such as Thalassaemia sickle cell anaemia, haemophilia, thrombocytopenia and People with Anaemia are depended on blood transfusions for their life. Lack of blood could lead to severe consequences including death, Dr Sharma says.

Blood Donation is good for donors:
It is very evident that when people donate their blood, they also gain many health benefits. Most of those who donate their blood develop an ability to recover faster from their diseases and even live longer, maintain healthy liver and iron levels, aid in weight loss, and reduce the risk of cancers and heart attacks.
“Giving blood” means “saving a life”, hence, one must join the effort to donate blood and generate the gift of life, Dr Prabhat Sharma adds.