Only 10% Pakistanis donate blood voluntarily


—Islamabad to have a modern blood centre by next year

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is among those low-income bracket countries that appallingly suffer from a lack of blood donors. Despite being 70 per cent population under 29 years only 10 per cent blood comes from voluntary donors, while 90 per cent of the collection comes from unsafe families’ replacement donations.

According to WHO statistics, about 112.5 million blood donations are collected globally of which half are in high-income countries, as 57 countries collect 100 per cent of their blood supply from voluntary, unpaid blood donors.

In order to highlight the issue, the Federal Government Polyclinic Blood Bank and Safe Blood Transfusion Programme (SBTP) organised a function on Saturday to commemorate the World Blood Donor Day.

Speaking on the occasion, SBTP chief Professor Hasan Zaheer said that a state-of-the-art regional blood centre would be established in the federal capital.

He expressed optimism that when we celebrate the World Blood Donor Day by next year, the regional centre would be completed by then.

This day is celebrated on June 14 to raise awareness regarding the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary blood donors for their life-saving gift of blood, as merely 1 per cent population’s blood donation is required to meet the requirements for blood in the country.

Hasan said that around 90 per cent reliance is on family donors, because voluntary donor ratio is very weak even in Islamabad.

“Under Safe Blood Transmission Program, 10 regional blood centres have been linked, besides renovation of 60 old centres,” he added.

He said that issue could only be resolved fully under awareness programmes regarding blood donations, and training of the officials.

Polyclinic Executive Director Shahid Hanif said that Polyclinic blood centre is the most effective centre in the city, where patients are provided with blood free of cost.

He said that people should be encouraged to donate blood to raise the ratio of voluntary donation compared with family donations.

Speaking on the occasion, Polyclinic Blood Bank in charge Dr Sharif Astori said that blood donor day is being celebrated with a purpose to encourage people to donate blood.

Astori said that the people’s attitude towards blood donation is needed to be changed and it could be only done with an active health education programme and by facilitating the community.

“The government needs to run an awareness campaign regarding blood donation to eradicate the myths regarding blood donation, as a large number of people are still hesitated to donate blood,” he added.

The WHO recommended that all blood donations must be screened for evidence of infection prior to the release of the blood and its components for clinical or manufacturing use. Screening of all blood donations should be mandatory for HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis.

The donated blood should also be tested for ABO and Rh factor to ensure the safety and compatibility of the transfusion for the patient.

The global framework for action to achieve 100pc voluntary blood donation has been developed jointly by the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. It is designed to provide guidance and support to countries seeking effective voluntary blood donor programmes, phase out family/replacement blood donation and an elimination of paid donation.

The vision embodied in this framework is the achievement of 100pc voluntary non-remunerated blood donation in every country of the world. No country can cater to the needs of the patients without a system based on voluntary-unpaid blood donations, particularly regular voluntary donations.