About 8 years ago, I had my first experience of donating blood. Back then, it was my father (who was still an active member of the military) who encouraged me to do so. According to him, blood donation is not just healthy, it can help save lives as well. I took his advice, but got turned down on my first attempt to do so. I was in the Call Center Industry then. When I went to a blood donation campaign, I hadn’t had any sleep or any rest.
From that time on, I donated blood whenever there are blood donation campaigns initiated by private and public entities. I had little ideas about the benefits of blooddonation. When I had my stint at the Department of Health, it eventually widened my thought of blood donation as a program. I was a regular blood donor then and it helped me with my task of educating the public of the blood donation program as a whole.
July is National Blood Donor’s Month. This is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1021 issued on July 9, 1997 and Republic Act (RA) 7719, the National Blood Services Act of 1994. The observance gives credit and recognizesblood donors and encourages regular blood donation. The Department of Health (DOH) leads the activities, the highlight of which is simultaneous blood donationnationwide, in partnership with World Health Organization (WHO), the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the Department of Education, and the Philippine BloodCoordinating Council, local government units, and other government agencies.
RA 7719 orders government agencies and non-government organizations to implement the National Voluntary Blood Services Program (NVBSP) that promotes voluntary blood donation. It encourages blood donation as way of life for every qualified healthy Filipino; establishes new blood service facilities and upgrades existing ones; organizes associations of blood donors and trains medical practitioners on national blood use; and disseminates rules for blood transfusion.
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Blood Donation:
1. What happens to donated blood?
Each unit of blood collected will be examined for 5 transfusion-transmissible infectious diseases, namely: HIV, Malaria, Syphillis, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C before it is transfused to patients.
2. Is it safe to give blood?
Yes. Donating blood is a safe opportunity to give the gift of life. Each needle used in the procedure is sterile and is disposed after a single use. It is important that all blood donors are in good health, well-rested, and have eaten beforedonation.
3. Who and when can we donate blood?
A healthy person (at least 18 years old and 110 pounds) may donate blood every three months.
4. Where can I voluntarily donate blood?
In Regional Blood Centers, (in Cebu, it is within the DOH Compound), The Philippine National Red Cross and private hospitals that conducts blood donationcampaigns.
5. Why are donors screened?
To ensure the safest possible blood supply, all donors must undergo the necessary screening every donation. The World Health Organization and the Department of Health require all blood centers to conform to this practice.
6. What does the term “donor deferral” mean?
Individuals barred from donating blood are known as “deferred” donors. A potential donor may be deferred at any point during the collection and testing process. Whether or not a person is deferred, temporarily or permanently, will depend on the specific reason for disqualification (i.e. a person may be deferred temporarily because of anemia, a condition that is usually reversible). If a person is to be deferred, his or her name is entered into a list of deferred donors maintained by the blood center.
7. What are some of the reasons for permanent deferral?
– Hepatitis B or C infection.
– HIV infection.
– Having sexual contact with a person infected with HIV
– Having multiple sex partners/ patronizing sex workers
– Serious chronic illness (heart and lung diseases)
8. If a person just received a flu shot, can he/she donate blood?
Yes. There is no waiting period to donate after receiving a flu shot.
9. If a person have a flu, can he/she donate blood?
In order to donate, blood centers require that you should be generally in good health (symptom-free); thus, it is important that you are feeling well.
10. How long does it take to donate blood?
The whole process of donating blood will only take an average of 25 minutes.