Donating blood isn’t something that a lot of us think about. Sure, when we’re in college and we’re organising blood donation drives with our friends, we’ll line up for hours to help save a life. But, once we start work and get busy with our everyday lives, the forwarded messages and Tweets we see asking for blood donations are most often ignored or deleted. In fact, hospitals report that finding donors after the holiday season is exceptionally difficult and so, in order to promote blood donation in January, the month has been commemorated as National Blood Donor Month every year since 1970.
The Need for Good Blood in India
In India, a person requires blood every 2 seconds. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), voluntary blood donation by 1% of a country’s population is the minimum amount required to meet the basic need for blood. Sadly, a report showcased in India’s Lok Sabha in March 2018 showed that we are short of 1.9 million units of blood. This is a chronic problem as blood donations in India are demand-led and family members and friends of people in need of blood are requested to replace the units being used to help their loved one. This often means that our hospitals don’t have excess blood units to meet the transfusion needs of all patients, especially in emergency situations.
A single donation is enough to help save the lives of three people. This means that if every single one of us donates blood every 90 days from the time we turn 18 till the time we turn 60, each of us could help save more than 500 people!
Donating the Right Blood Type
As we all know, there are 8 major blood groups that are determined on the basis of the ABO and Rh antigens. Here’s a handy guide on who can donate blood to whom and who can receive blood from whom:
|Blood Type||Can Donate To||Can Receive From|
|O+||O+, A+, B+, AB+||O+, O-|
|A+||A+, AB+||A+, A-, O+, O-|
|B+||A+, AB+||B+, B-, O+, O-|
|AB+||AB+ Only||All blood types|
|O-||All blood types||O- Only|
|A-||A+, A-, AB+, AB-||A-, O-|
|B-||B+, B-, AB+, AB-||B-, O-|
|AB-||AB+, AB-||AB-, A-, B-, O-|
Only 7% of the Indian population has O- blood, which can be donated to anybody. So, it is up to all of us to donate blood whenever we can, so long as it doesn’t affect our health. This January, when blood donations are low, let us take it upon ourselves to help fill up our blood banks. If you’d like to officially register as a donor, you can click here to submit your details so that blood banks near you can contact you every 3 months or whenever they need help in an emergency situation. If you’d like to donate, you don’t have to wait for a blood donation drive. You can just head to a hospital near you and let them know you’d like to donate some blood – it’s really that easy to help save lives!