Doctor: Giving blood saves lives

Health Watch, Normal

The National, Thursday June 20th, 2013

 BLOOD donation is one way of helping reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in the country, according to a health official.

Department of Health’s acting chief medical officer Dr Maru Garo said there was an increase in the number of bleeding complications and blood disorders. 

“Our mothers must be saved from bleeding complications associated with childbirth,” he said.

“Many of our children and girls admitted (to hospitals) suffer from severe anaemia.”

Garo said during the World Blood Donor day in Port Moresby last week many surgical cases had to be deferred or cancelled because of the shortage of blood. 

“All the patients need blood and it cannot be replaced by intravenous fluid all the time,” he said.

He said by giving blood, you will:

  • Know your blood group;
  • Know your HIV and Hepatitis B status;
  • Know your body weight, blood pressure; haemoglobin as part of medical checks; and
  • Feel good knowing you have saved someone’s life.

World Health Organisation country representative Dr William Adu-Krow said they recommended that all blood donations undergo mandatory screening for HIV and Hepatitis B and other sexually transmitted infections. 

Adu-Krow said WHO’s strategy for blood safety and availability addressed five key areas:

  • Establishment of well-organised, nationally coordinated blood transfusion services to ensure the availability of safe blood and blood products for all patients requiring transfusion;
  • Collection of blood from voluntary unpaid blood donors from low risk populations;
  • Quality assured testing for transfusion-transmitted infections, blood grouping and compatibility testing;
  • The safe and appropriate use of blood and a reduction in unnecessary transfusions; and 
  • Quality systems covering the entire transfusion process from donor recruitment to the follow up of transfusion recipients.

National Blood Transfusion Service manager Dr Merrilyn Mathias said students were the biggest donors. 

She said there were schools in the city which had shown interest in blood donation.

The Don Bosco Technical School is one example. Last year they collected 240 bags of blood at the school.