On June 14 of each year, the World Blood Donor Day proclaimed by the World Health Organization (WHO) is celebrated in order to sensitize and educate the world population about the importance of donating blood, to contribute to the health of patients who require transfusions.
Likewise, it is intended to promote the establishment of systems and infrastructures aimed at increasing donations of blood and blood products safe for transfusions, with the support of governments and health authorities.
The date of this celebration commemorates the birth of Karl Landsteiner, Austrian pathologist and biologist who discovered and typified blood groups, which is why he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1930.
To commemorate this celebration of World Blood Donor Day, a central theme is selected annually. The slogan of the 2021 campaign is “Donate blood so the world keeps beating”.
This campaign seeks to highlight the importance of increasing the number of voluntary and unpaid blood donors, especially young people, to save lives and contribute to improving people’s health.
The objectives of the 2021 campaign are the following:
- Raise awareness in the population about the need to make regular blood donations and thank volunteer donors from around the world.
- Strengthen community solidarity and social cohesion, by promoting the community values of blood donation.
- Encourage the young population to join as voluntary blood donors.
- Strengthen the participation of young people as partners in health promotion.
What is blood transfusion?
Blood transfusion is a medical procedure, by which blood is transferred from one person to another to replace the blood components that are diminished due to surgery, injury, bleeding disorder or disease (cancer, hemophilia, diabetes, among others).
Blood has the following blood components:
- Red blood cells: they carry oxygen and help remove waste.
- White blood cells: help the body fight infections.
- Plasma: it constitutes the liquid part of the blood and serves to transport cells, nutrients and other elements of the immune system.
- Platelets: allow adequate blood clotting.
What are the requirements and steps to be a blood donor?
The blood donor must meet the following basic requirements:
- Be of legal age (from 18 to 65 years old).
- Be physically healthy.
- Not having suffered infectious diseases (HIV-AIDS, Syphilis, Hepatitis, Malaria, among others).
- Not being a drug user.
- You should not be taking antibiotics or certain medications.
- With normal blood pressure.
- No recent tattoos or piercings (previous 12 months).
- Not having undergone a transplant.
- Not having received blood transfusions.
- It is not recommended that pregnant women are donors, since blood is the means of feeding and oxygenation of the fetus.
- Not having undergone recent surgical interventions or endoscopies (previous 4 months).
The donor must undergo a prior evaluation carried out by specialized health personnel, supplying the required information, in order to determine if they are suitable to donate blood.
Also, you must follow these directions:
- Eat a full meal, 1 to 2 hours before the blood draw.
- Indicate the medications, vitamins and nutritional supplements that you are taking.
- Undergo a previous blood test, in order to determine the compatibility, blood group and rule out infectious diseases.
- After the blood is drawn, the donor must drink liquids and eat food, avoid lifting weights or doing activities that require effort, for the next 24 hours.
The blood draw process takes about 20 minutes and blood can be donated once a week.
Puerto Rico Blood Bank is looking for blood donors of all kinds to meet the high demand in hospitals in the southwest of the island. Visit them and become a life hero. They are located at 234 Sabanetas Industrial Park in Ponce in front of the Department of the Family. You can contact them at 787-651-1880. Their hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.