KERALA

Boosting blood donation

Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A casual glance through the day's newspaper and one can find at least three or four requests calling for people to donate blood. There is a perennial shortage of blood for clinical use in the country. It has been assessed that the State requires about three lakh units of blood annually. However, the collection of blood last year was just about 1.4 lakh units. This huge gap in supply and demand can be reduced only if people come forward to donate blood.

October 1, National Blood Donation Day, is thus an occasion to encourage voluntary blood donation by people. Blood safety can be ensured only if one can eliminate professional donors and add on more voluntary donors who can regularly donate blood.

The concept of voluntary blood donation has been very poor in Kerala. The Blood Safety wing of Kerala AIDS Control Society (KSACS) has been trying to encourage people to become voluntary donors by sending across the message that being a regular donor is one's certificate to good health and clean habits.

Every time one donates blood, the sample is tested for diseases like HIV, Hepatitis, Syphilis and Malaria. "People should be motivated to proudly declare that they are regular blood donors," says an official at KSACS.

A recent study conducted by Terumo Penpol on `barriers to blood donation and public perceptions about donation' found that most of the donors were young men and that people from a low socio-economic background are more willing blood donors than those from the affluent group. Men were more inclined to donate blood than women. The study found that even though people agreed that blood donation was a noble activity, many were scared to donate blood. For some it was the queasiness of seeing blood, while some were scared of the needle jab.

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