Muscat: More people are responding to blood donation drives in 2016 at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH), compared with the previous year, Dr Arwa Al Riyami, chairperson of the Blood Donation Committee at SQUH, said.
While the exact figures are yet to be released, the senior consultant hematopathologist said that there is an obvious increase in response to the blood donation campaigns conducted by SQUH.
She stated that this likely represents growing awareness about the donation drives conducted.
“We work hard on advertising for the donation campaigns that the blood bank conducts. This helps in improving the response rate and keeps the momentum for the regular need of blood donors in the society. We also welcome invitations for blood donation drives in different organisations in Muscat.”
The blood donation committee in the hospital has initiated an annual schedule for blood drives conducted by SQUH. “We conducted 40 campaigns in 2015, and are aiming for a total of 50 in 2016.” While most of these drives are conducted on-campus, a significant number are carried out off-campus, including in private colleges, malls and ministries, especially during summer holidays in the university.
“Our next blood donation drive will be at the Oman Medical Specialty Board,” Al Riyami said. It will be held under the title “1 blood donation can save up to 3 lives.”
The drive would not only call for donations, but also spread important information, according to Al Riyami. “Each donated unit is separated into three components; red cells, platelets and plasma. Each goes to a patient.” The drive is set to kick off on Wednesday, August 10 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Oman Medical Specialty Board in Al Khoudh.
While most Omanis belong to the O+ and A+ blood groups, Al Riyami stressed that all blood types are in demand.
“In emergency cases, such as road traffic accidents, we supply a patient with the O blood group, until we know the patient’s exact blood group,” she explained. However, in other situations, patients are given blood that matches their blood group. “Each blood donor is unique.”
What are the benefits of blood donation for donors?
Prevents cardio vascular disease
Provides you with a mini check-up of your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature and haemoglobin level
Improves blood circulation
It saves someone else’s life
How long does it take to donate blood?
The actual donation process takes only 10 to 15 minutes. An additional 10 to 20 minutes will be required to fill out the donation questioner, interview the donor and to perform a physical check-up.
Who needs blood?
Patients with hereditary blood disorders (e.g. sickle cell disease and thalassemia)
Cancer patients on chemotherapy
Patients with severe anaemia
Patients who undergo major surgeries
Bone marrow transplant patients
What should I do before blood donation?
Drink plenty of fluids and have a meal an hour before your donation
Bring an ID card
What should I do after blood donation?
Rest for 10 to 15 minutes after donating blood
Drink plenty of fluids during the next four hours
Keep your bandage on and dry for the next five hours
Do not do heavy exercise or lifting for 12 hours.
Do not forget
If you see any bleeding from the donation site, raise your arm straight up and press on the site until bleeding stops, then replace the bandage with a new one for an additional four hours.
If you experience any dizziness or light headedness, sit down with your head between your knees or lie down with your legs elevated.
If you experience discomfort (pain, tenderness or swelling) at the venipuncture site, apply a cold compress for 20 minutes. Repeat four times a day for the first two days. If symptoms don't resolve, go to the nearest health centre.
Eat healthy meals, including iron-rich foods.
If this is your first donation, come visit the SQUH blood bank in one week to take your donation card.
Remember to enjoy the feeling of knowing that you helped saving lives. Mark your calendar to donate again in three months. The SQUH blood bank is open Saturday to Thursday; 7.30 am to 9 pm.