Is it safe to donate blood during Ramadan ?
June 17, 2015 | 9:32 PM
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Muscat: Blood donation during Ramadan will not affect a person’s ability to observe a fast, said a senior Omani official, while encouraging people to donate blood given the anticipated reduction in supply in the fasting month.

Blood donation is safe after breaking the fast in the evening and the donor will have no problem fasting the following day, Dr Sabria Al Hashami, director of the Department of Blood Services at the Ministry of Health, told the Times of Oman.

According to her, blood donation drives will be conducted and the central blood bank will receive donors from 7.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. every day during Ramadan.

Mobile units will be operating during the same hours in different locations throughout the month.

Commenting on the demand for blood during Ramadan, Dr Al Hashami said, “The demand is a dynamic process and sometimes difficult to predict. However, the main issue is the marked reduction in the supply because of the fasting hours and the fact that not enough donors come for donation to the centre in the evenings or mobile units and blood donation drives outside.”

The gap between blood supply and demand can be ‘severe’ during Ramadan for these reasons, she added.

The official also noted that all blood groups during Ramadan are in short supply, specifically O and A blood groups.

Asked how many units of blood the central blood bank should have per day, Dr Al Hashami said that a minimum of 200 units per day is required.

Voluntary donation target

On the 95 per cent target for voluntary donation, she said, “In 2014, an overall 87 per cent of the total donations were from voluntary donors across the Sultanate, but some of the blood banks of governorates are close to 90 per cent.”

She also said that that the society is a ‘partner’ in the health-care system and the Department of Blood Services will certainly advocate and support such a partnership.

In addition, Dr Al Hashami referred to the World Blood Donor Day, which was observed on June 14, saying that the allocation of a global day for blood donors is considered recognition of the entire world for the important role played by non-remunerated voluntary blood donors.

Commenting on blood donation during Ramadan, Dr Ahmed Hamed Al Wahaibi, senior consultant in Family Medicine at the Ministry of Health, said that some people are under the misconception that donating blood while fasting will invalidate their fast, but in fact you are not putting anything in the blood vessel that would break the fast.

It can be done both while fasting and after breaking the fast but the donor should be examined to make sure that he or she is fit to donate blood, he told the Times of Oman.

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