14 June is the World Blood Donor Day devoted to the theme “Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life!”
The World Blood Donor Day is celebrated every year on 14 June. This year’s theme is “Every few seconds someone somewhere needs blood. Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life!“. At the same time, the event thanks all people who give blood voluntarily and free of charge.
This year’s World Health Organisation (WHO) campaign focuses on how blood product transfusions and medicines prepared from blood help save millions of lives each year. It helps patients who suffer from life-threatening diseases live longer and improves their quality of life, but also contributes to the performance of complex medical and surgical procedures. It is also of vital importance to new mothers and newborns and in reacting to emergency situations in the event of catastrophes caused by human activity and natural disasters.
One way to help is to give blood. Regular blood donations ensure that we always have sufficient blood reserves to help patients quickly and efficiently in emergency situations.
Dr Erna Saarniit, the Blood Centre’s Production Manager and Chief Doctor stresses: “The availability of a sufficient amount of safe blood to all patients who require a blood transfusion depends, above all, on those people who value donorship and consider it part of a healthy lifestyle,” adding that: “People’s willingness to give blood in emergency situations is heart-warming and highly commendable, but it is best to have a sufficient number of regular donors. This ensures us a sufficient blood reserve, provides us all with a sense of security and helps us greatly in both emergency and regular situations.”
In the case of male donors, the minimum interval between full blood donations must be at least 60 days. Women are advised to wait 90 days. Regular blood-giving means that the donor’s health status is checked, and their health indicators are monitored upon each donation and the results of lab analyses are dynamically assessed. Regular donors’ health indicators are constantly monitored, which ensures the maximum safety of the blood they give when it comes to pathogens. This is an advantage when, for instance, selecting donor blood for preparing blood components for children. Regular donors are also welcome to undergo apheresis procedures to donate thrombocytes and plasma.
A blood donation is the donor’s priceless gift to patients. Each blood donation helps at least three patients. Donor blood is most often needed by cancer patients, people undergoing difficult surgeries as well as people who suffer from anaemia, severe trauma and other diseases and in obstetrics in the case of life-threatening bleeding.
Donors form 2.8% of the whole of Estonian population. As of 2013, the number of donors, blood donations and hospitals’ demand for blood have slowly decreased. However, to avoid future crises, we are in constant need for new and permanent donors – helpful people who consider donating blood a few times a year part of their lifestyle.
In 2017, 31,734 donors gave blood 55,057 times. The average number of blood donations per one donor was 1.7 and this indicator has remained stable through recent years. In 2017, there were 5084 first-time donors, who formed 16% of all blood donors. Thanks to their donations, a total of 14,495 patients received over 68,676 doses of blood components in hospitals.
Donors who have given blood in the Medical Centre’s Blood Centres have the opportunity to choose a donation card instead of a symbolic keepsake. With the help of the cards collected, the Blood Centre hands over packages of sweet gifts to families of limited means in Estonian counties a couple of times a year. On the eve of this year’s Blood Donor Day, the children of 86 Hiiu County families of limited means received gift bags containing chocolate and two jars of honey. 334 donors have contributed to these gifts.
Dr Erna Saarniit forwards a greeting from the whole staff of the Blood Centre: “We thank our wonderful active donors and wish everyone good health and luck in helping those in need. I wish everyone a happy blood donor day!”