There are many reasons why donating blood is important. In short, it saves lives. People need blood transfusions for anything that causes extensive blood loss such as a car accident, haemorrhaging due to pregnancy complications and other gynaecological complications, premature babies, and anaemia. Either way, donating blood is a selfless and noble act. It could be the difference between life and death.
One unit of blood can save up to three lives as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.
Blood is needed for regular transfusions for people with conditions such as thalassaemia and sickle cell disease, and the blood is also used to make products such as clotting factors for people with haemophilia.
There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use, says the World Health Organisation. Regular blood donations by a large number of healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed.
Different Blood types
O is the universal blood type. This means that this blood type can be used by anyone, no matter the recipient’s blood type. In transfusions of packed red blood cells, individuals with type O Rh D negative blood are often called universal donors. Those with type AB Rh D positive blood are called universal recipients.
The four major groups are determined by whether or not they have two antigens, commonly known as A and B. Each of these antigens has an Rh factor, a positive or a negative. That’s what leads to the commonly known blood types A+, A-, B+, B-, O+, O-, AB+, AB-.
People of all blood types are encouraged to donate blood.
Not everyone can donate blood
Unfortunately, not everyone is able to donate blood. This may be due to a temporary issue like pregnancy or being on a course of certain drugs. Or, you may suffer from a degenerative, or infectious disease, for example, Aids sufferers cannot donate blood.
Provided there are no complications, the waiting period after a major operation is six months. If you received blood or blood products, you may not donate for 6 months.