Growing up while in lower high school, I remember one day a team from the blood bank visited our school in hopes of getting more blood in order to expand on quantity of blood in the National blood banks. Their focus was mainly on the upper high school students, because their age was eligible and many students’ weight was also eligible as compared to ours, where most of us were below 16 and at least, some didn’t weigh 50 kgs. The campaign was to run for 2 hours (from 10 am to 12 noon) but it took longer than expected due to some administrative issues between the team and the school management so it shoot to the lunch time break, and that’s how I got the opportunity to witness the entire process. Our fellow students were already in queues ready to donate blood.
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Wondering why the donors were first being pricked and the drop of blood put into a solution, some student came and told us, out of ignorance that the team was trying to identify who is infected with the HIV virus and who isn’t. In short, it was an HIV test done prior to the donation, so that the blood can be marked and separated from the HIV free blood. I believed that till I one day went to donate and asked the medical personnel what exactly she was testing for by putting the drop of blood in the solution. “I am just testing for the levels of iron in the blood, to know whether it is safe for you to donate or not,” she said. If the drop of blood settled to the Bottom then it implied that you are eligible for donation and if it didn’t, then you aren’t eligible! Imagine the little me in ignorance, standing near a medical personnel to see who is and who isn’t infected. Funny right?
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The donors were asked whether or not they had enough breakfast, if they were on medication and what kind of medication it is, and their identification. In short, the blood donation activity involves registration for donation, interview for your medical history and a mini physical, the donation process itself and a moment of refreshments where the donors are offered a drink and a bite to help their bodies get back to normal since they have lost some fluids. They are also advised to sit and relax for at least ten minutes to allow their bodies restore some strength and also get back some energy before they left. The donation process takes not more than fifteen minutes. However, if you are donating platelets, red cells or plasma by apheresis, the process could take up to almost two hours.
With all that said, we can all agree that Blood Donation is an activity that occurs when a person voluntarily decides to let blood be drawn out of him or her for fractional purposes. It is a very simple and safe way to make a difference in people’s lives because donation helps;
- People who go through disasters or emergency situations like accidents
- People who lose blood during major surgeries
- People with cancer or severe anaemia sometimes caused by thalassemia or sickle cell disease.
- Women who have serious complications during pregnancy or child birth.
Each person can donate one pint of blood (one unit of blood) whenever they choose to donate. Next time you come across any blood donation drive, do feel free to go and make a difference in your community, district, and country at large.