By Faranak Bakhtiari

Let’s keep the world beating by donating blood

June 14, 2021 - 16:20

TEHRAN – As developing countries expand treatment facilities and developed ones invent new medical measures, the need for blood and blood products increases daily, so that, with blood donation, we can save millions of lives and keep the hearts of many beatings.

June 14 was chosen as World Blood Donor Day because it is the birthday of the Austrian immunologist and pathologist Karl Landsteiner. His discovery of blood types and how safe blood transfusions are brought great advances in science.

The aim is to raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion and of the critical contribution voluntary, unpaid blood donors make to national health systems.

For 2021, the World Blood Donor Day slogan will be “Give blood and keep the world-beating”. The message highlights the essential contribution blood donors make to keeping the world pulsating by saving lives and improving others’ health. It reinforces the global call for more people all over the world to donate blood regularly and contribute to better health.

Over 2.1m Iranians donate blood per year

Blood donation in Iran has long been done voluntarily; over 2.1 million Iranians donate blood annually, Bashir Haji-Beigi, the Blood Transfusion Organization spokesman said on Monday.

There are currently 178 blood donation centers in the country, with Fars, Khorasan Razavi, Khuzestan, Tehran, and Mazandaran provinces having the largest number of blood donation centers, he stated.

Safe blood saves lives, and one in three people in the world need a blood transfusion or blood products during their lifetime, he highlighted.

The most obvious example of an urgent need for blood is the time of various incidents such as car accidents, burns, and surgeries, he added.

Pregnant women also need blood during childbirth, premature infants with jaundice and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy also need blood and blood products, Haji-Beigi said, adding, many other patients, such as those with thalassemia and hemophilia, also have to receive blood or blood products to enjoy a relatively normal life.

A unit of blood saves the lives of three

As developing countries expand their diagnostic and treatment facilities for the treatment of various diseases, such as cancers, more and more blood transfusions are needed, and this need is constantly increasing.

Haji Beigi emphasized that also, technological advances in industrialized and developed countries cause new medical measures to be invented and, consequently, the need for blood and blood products will increase.

A unit of blood can save the lives of three people; compressed blood cells are derived from one blood unit, which is used in surgeries, then platelets are taken, which is used by cancer patients, and blood plasma is used in patients with liver failure and burns, he explained.

COVID-19 recovered patients donate plasma

From the beginning of April 2020 until April 2021, some 15,039 plasma units have been donated by patients who have been recovered from COVID-19 throughout the country, Haji Beigi, announced.

Following the outbreak of coronavirus, doctors, pharmacists, scientists, and others are looking for a way to control the virus, and so far, many studies and researches have been done in this regard.

One of the studies showed that the plasma driven from recovered patients can be used in the treatment of COVID-19 with the help of the patient's immune system.

Convalescent plasma therapy allows someone who has recovered from a coronavirus infection to donate their blood plasma to someone who is critically ill.

The best time for plasma donation is at least 14 and preferably 28 days after recovery, and donors should age 18 to 60 years.

The highest blood donation rate in Eastern Mediterranean

While blood donation in 70 countries still depends on replacement or paid donors, Iran is the first country in the region that has enjoyed voluntary blood donation by 100 percent since 2007.

More than 85 percent of all donated blood worldwide is used to produce blood products, while the rate is 65 percent in Eastern Mediterranean countries. Iran ranks among the highest-income countries in terms of converting more than 97 percent of the blood donated by people to plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMP).

Only 55 of 171 countries produce PDMP through the fractionation of plasma collected in the reporting country. A total of 90 countries reported that all PDMP are imported, 16 countries reported that no PDMP was used during the reporting period, and 10 countries did not respond to the question, according to WHO.

Iran currently has the highest blood donation rate in the Eastern Mediterranean region so that out of 9.9 million blood donation units in this region, more than two million belongs to Iran.

Also, the index of blood donation is 25 per 1,000 populations, while in the member states of the Eastern Mediterranean region, this number is 14.9 per 1000.

Blood transfusion saves millions of lives

According to the World Health Organization, blood transfusion saves millions of lives and improves health, but many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. Providing safe and adequate blood should be an integral part of every country’s national health care policy and infrastructure.

About 117.4 million blood donations are collected worldwide. 42 percent of these are collected in high-income countries, home to 16 percent of the world’s population.

About 12,700 blood centers in 170 countries report collecting a total of 100 million donations. Collections at blood centers vary according to income group. The median annual donations per blood center are 1,300 in the low-income countries, 4,100 in lower-middle-income countries, and 8 500 in upper-middle-income countries, as compared to 23,000 in the high-income countries.

Data about the gender profile of blood donors show that globally 32 percent of blood donations are given by women, although this ranges widely. In 14 of the 119 reporting countries, less than 10 percent of donations are given by female donors.

Moreover, 62 countries collect 100 percent of their blood supply from voluntary, unpaid blood donors. Some 108 million blood donations are collected globally, half of these are in high-income countries. Meanwhile, blood donation by 1 percent of the population can meet a nation’s most basic requirements for blood.


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