News on Sunday

World Blood Donor Day : a duty for young people to help humanity and themselves 

“Give blood and save a life”. You must have heard this catchphrase several times. Indeed, blood is one of the main resources for treatment and urgent interventions. On 14th June, each year, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day where awareness is raised about donating blood. In Mauritius as well, there is drastic need for blood in our hospitals every single day. Young people are not only encouraged to donate blood to save a life but also for their own benefits. 

The Mauritius Blood Donors Association organises various activities each year to celebrate this event and also to sensitise people about the importance of donating blood. According to the President of the Mauritius Blood Donors Association, Subhanand Seegoolam, the blood bank needs around 150 pints of blood every day and thus it is important for the population to donate blood regularly. On a daily basis, blood pints are needed in hospitals for several reasons such as for operations, blood transfusion, dialysis patients, thalassemia and cancer, in burning cases treatment, for pregnant women and girls in case of anaemia. The lifetime of the collected blood is only 35 days and hence regular blood donation is crucial. 

Generally, there are four major types of blood group: A, B, O and AB. In the positive blood registry, we have 26% of group A, 27% of group B, around 40% of group O and 7% of group AB.  The total negative registry of all four blood groups and the total population is at only 4%. 

As stated by Subhanand Seegoolam, each season has a different collection rate. For instance, he reveals that during winter, donors are more reluctant to donate their blood and this represents a great risk. He also confides that the number of older donors are bigger compared to the younger ones. He takes this opportunity to encourage young people to donate their blood regularly to save more lives.

Benefits of donating blood 

Did you know that while donating blood you are not only helping humanity but also contributing to your own good?  There are several health benefits when a person donates blood. According to Dr Sonoo, the biggest contribution is to save other people’s lives. “The donor gets a medical check-up that allows him or her to detect if he/she has health issues. For example, it a way to detect whether someone has high blood or low blood pressure and thus they can follow up a with a treatment afterwards, as a medical history is recorded for each donor. When it comes to men, it is good that they donate on a regular basis compared to women, as they have an excess of blood in their bodies and at the same time, it reduces the risks of developing diseases.” 

Dr Sonoo further clarifies that while a man can donate four times a year, it is restricted to three times only for the woman. “There are approximately 30,000 registered blood donors. Among them, approximately 80% donate once a year. She stated that it will be good if donors could donate at least twice a year, as this would in a way prevent a shortage at the blood bank.”

Since Mauritius has an ageing population on the rise, it will be good if more young people between the ages of 18 to 25 years register themselves as blood donors, says the doctor. “This is a serious issue that needs to be taken into account. One recommendation would be to interact with young people through sensitisation campaigns and even by enrolling young people as blood donors.” 

Activities 

In the context of the World Blood Donor Day, the Mauritius Blood Donors Association is organising various events across the country. A blood donation event is being organised this Saturday as from 09:00 to 16:00 at the Village Hall of Bambous. There will be a free medical check-up as well as breast cancer screening. A Motor Vehicles Rally will be organised through the village of Bambous as from 13:00. A march with the theme “Importance of donating blood” will also be held at 13:30 at the Village Hall of Bambous. The best slogan and costume will be rewarded during this occasion. An official ceremony will also be carried out at the Bambous Multipurpose Complex as from 14:00 with guest of honour His Excellency Paramasivum Pillay (Barlen) Vyapoory interim President of the Republic of Mauritius.

Myths and Facts 

Myth : Being a vegetarian means that the blood does not have enough iron and cannot be donated. 
Fact : Vegetarians can donate blood. The iron needed is taken from body stores and once a balanced diet is maintained, it is replaced after donation. This usually normally takes a month or so.
Myth : Giving blood hurts.
Fact : The pain experienced is no more than a needle prick. The slight soreness, where the needle was inserted, is just a reminder of the good deed done.
Myth : Giving blood is time consuming.
Fact : The time taken for a single donation session is normally not more than an hour or so.
Myth : There is limited blood in the body and it is unhealthy to give some away.
Fact : Only about 350-450ml of blood is taken during a donation session. There is enough blood in the body to donate it without any ill effects. The body produces new blood after donation.
Myth : Age is a deterrent to blood donation.
Fact : Anyone up to the age of 60 who is fit and healthy can give blood.
Myth : Heavy people are healthier and have more blood to give.
Fact : Being overweight makes people less healthy. Overweight people do not have more blood.
Myth : Health deteriorates after donating blood.
Fact : If you are healthy prior to donation, your recovery is complete in a day or two. It is advised to rest a while after donating. Drinking enough liquids replaces the lost fluid within a couple of hours. The body produces new cells faster after a donation. All the RBCs are replaced within 3-4 days and WBCs within 3 weeks.
Myth : You cannot take part in sports or other physical activities after donating blood.
Fact : Giving blood does not interfere with ability to perform physically. Advice given is to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous workouts for the rest of the day after the donation. You can get back on track the next day.

Source: BloodConnect 

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