By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday observed “the World Blood Donor Day” to raise public awareness on the need for safe blood and blood products.
The theme of the 2015 World Blood Donor Day was “Thank for saving my Life” which focuses on the idea that everyone can rescue a patient by donation of safe blood.
The WHO asked people to take part in the blood donation campaigns to save lives of children suffering from thalassemia, women that suffering from severe bleeding during delivery and people who sustain injuries as a result of conflict.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chief of Central Blood Bank, Ahmad Massoud Rahmati, said that public awareness about blood donation has increased in the past 14 years. However, he stressed on necessity for blood donation.
He said that conflict, terrorist attacks and thalassemia are the major problems in the country that enhances the requirement of blood.
He pointed out that Afghanistan currently has over 27,000 registered, regular unpaid blood donors of which 96 percent are men. Out of all blood donors, around 47 percent are voluntary donors and 53 percent are family donors. The safe transfusion of blood and blood products help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions to live longer.
He added that so far there are more than 1,000 patients with thalassemia in the country, and each needs 500cc blood every week.
He said that blood donation is not harmful for health, but it could be beneficial for the circulatory system and heart health. A healthy person can donate 450cc blood to needy patients. And the healthy persons can produce it within one week.
Minister of Public Health said that donation of blood has increased, but on the same time urged public to rescue patients in critical condition by donating blood.
The WHO representative to Afghanistan, Alaa Abou Zeid, said that observing of the World Blood Donor Day is a good opportunity to collect safe blood for needy patients.
He expressed the WHO long term commitments to support safe blood donation in Afghanistan through training healthcare providers on blood transfusion and blood bank management, supporting the blood transfusion service surveillance system, equipping blood banks and developing national guidelines and standards for blood transfusion.
On the other hand, a number of people criticized the sluggish process of blood distribution in Maiwand Hospital, and alleged that the hospital does not provide blood to needy patients on time.
Zahir Ahmad, a resident of Baghlan province, complained about lack of blood in Maiwand Hospital and said: “My daughter has thalassemia. She needs to take 500cc blood per week. When I approach the hospital, the concerned staffers [of the hospital], they tell me to bring my daughter tomorrow.”
He said that he has lost one of his daughters, who suffered from thalassemia. Ahmad said that he lost her daughter because she did not receive blood on time.
It is pertinent to mention that June 14th matches the birth of Karl Land Steiner, who for the first time discovered Human Blood Group. He was appreciated for what he did and was awarded the Noble Prize. June 14th is marked as the World Blood Donor Day to honor Karl Land Steiner.