Someone lives when someone gives. There is no substitute for human blood. But a lot of misgivings abound when it comes to blood donation. Every tomorrow needs a blood donor today. Yet, the spirit of voluntarism remains a distant cry.

To address the fears and instil a sense of social responsibility among people, authorities are planning a huge campaign with focus on ‘donation with honesty'. Whenever one signs a blood donation form he is actually signing a new lease of life for someone. So honesty is of utmost importance while donating blood. However, not everyone tells the truth while disclosing his medical history, thereby putting a question mark on the blood donated.

In the days to come, a publicity blitzkrieg will be unleashed in the State to highlight this aspect. The Andhra Pradesh State Aids Control Society (APSACS) is trying to rope in cine star, Akkineni Nagarjuna, and badminton sensation, Saina Nehwal, to promote blood donation with honesty.

Potential donors are evaluated for things that might make the blood unsafe for use. They are expected to answer a confidential questionnaire about their medical history. One is expected to come clean if one is maintaining a promiscuous behaviour or hitting the bottle. “Even if you have cough or influenza be honest and don't donate. Come some other day so that the patient who receives your blood is protected,” says P. Sujatha, joint director, Blood Safety, APSACS.

Shelf life

For this reason the APSACS is not in favour of holding mega blood donation camps since the blood collected thus gets wasted. The shelf life of blood is just 30 days. “We want small blood donation camps to be held at frequent intervals so that the shelf life remains,” says Dr. Sujatha.

The blood requirement is usually one percent of the population. Annually the APSACS manages to collect 7.5 to 7.8 lakh units which is about enough. While the donated blood is given to everyone the kits for screening it for HIV and other diseases are sent to the 111 NACO supported blood banks in the State.

With the World Blood Donor Day scheduled for June 14, a number of blood donation camps are being organised. In Hyderabad the APSACS plans to hold 15 camps and one in each district headquarters.

However, no targets are set for the number of units to be collected for the simple reason that organisers are not to be forced to collect blood of just anyone. Blood is meant for circulation. So guys get ready to pass it on.

Keywords: blood donation

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