Each year on 14th June the World Health Organization (WHO) marks World Blood Donor Day. The slogan for 2021 being “Give blood and keep the world beating” with the aim of the day to raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion.
This year blood donations are more important than ever. The Covid 19 pandemic has made a considerable impact on blood donations around the globe.
The Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS) saw a 30% decrease in blood donations during lockdown for several reasons including:
- The closure of donation sites
- The public not wanting to be in public places
- Increased donation time due to additional cleaning
- Increased staffing levels required per donation session
Demand for blood also decreased due to non-essential routine surgeries being cancelled however, blood is still required for critically ill patients including mothers giving birth, patients post cancer treatment, emergency surgery and babies in the ICU. As the lockdowns across Ireland eases the health care system faces a backlog of patients waiting for treatment leading to a higher demand for blood.
How can I help?
Anyone can help by donating blood. If you are ineligible for blood donation you can help in other ways by increasing awareness or volunteering at your local donation center.
How does the donation process work?
Once you have booked an appointment at your local donation center, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire to evaluate your eligibility to donate. If eligible, you will be checked for anemia by a simple. Once the blood donation process begins the blood is collected into a blood bag coated in anticoagulant to stop the blood from clotting. Blood is also collected for testing in the laboratory to ensure your blood is safe for patients.
All blood donations are tested for blood type matching and disease analysis including HIV, Hepatitis C and syphilis. Once the blood has been collected and screened it can either be stored for use as whole blood or split into its components, such as red blood cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate, meaning one blood donation can meet the needs of more than one patient.
MSC have been supplying Immucor equipment & reagents and training blood transfusion teams across Ireland for almost 50 years. Immucors’ exclusive Capture® technology at the forefront of transfusion testing for both blood donations and antenatal testing ensuring donor-recipient compatibility. NEO Iris™, an instrument specially designed for high-volume laboratories with the highest type and screen throughput available in the industry will be vital for the backlog of patients.
For more information on how you can donate blood visit your local blood transfusion service website;
The Northern Ireland Blood transfusion service – www.nibts.org
The Irish Blood Transfusion service – www.giveblood.ie
For further information on how Immucor can support your laboratory contact MSC below: