ISLAMABAD - The country annually faces shortage of around 1,400,000 blood units against the demand of around 3,200,000 units to save lives of thousands of the people as voluntary blood donations remains below the set standard, said Project Director Safe Blood Transfusion Programme Dr Hassan Abbas Zaheer.
Addressing a ceremony the other day to commemorate World Blood Donor Day 2012, Dr Hassan Abbas Zaheer said as per international standards if one to three percent of any country’s population donates blood, it would be sufficient to meet country’s requirement of blood transfusion. “But unfortunately, ratio of blood donation in Pakistan stands even below one percent of total population,” said the project director adding the country is among 77 states faced with the same situation. He said there are only 62 states who have got 100 percent blood donations from volunteers, adding the donations made by the professional donors or patients’ relatives were comparatively unsafe. World Blood Donors Day is celebrated on June 14 with events to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
The theme for 2012 World Blood Donor Day drive is, ‘Every blood donor is a hero’ to recognize the silent and unsung heroes who save lives every day through their blood donations.
Dr Hassan said the trend of donating blood is very minimal among Pakistan women that is just 3 percent of total donors, contrary to other countries where there is no such gender-based difference in blood donations.
He said currently the private blood banks were working without mutual collaboration however, a network is yet in the making and the blood Transfusion Programme has been effectively working in provinces as well as federal capital. Former Surgeon General Lt Gen (Retd) Mustafa Kamal Akbar, who has the distinction of donating blood for more than 100 times, told the gathering that contrary to below one percent in Pakistan, blood donors in Iran comprise almost 2.5 percent of population.
He exemplified developed countries like UK where a dozens of blood donors rush to hospital only after listening to a ‘blood needed’ message on radio and said such examples needed to be replicated in Pakistan. Nullifying the misconceptions associated with the blood donations like overweighing or weakness owing to blood donation, Mustafa Kamal said even the sugar patients may also donate blood.
He said in Pakistan majority of blood donors comprise teenagers as the trend is diminishing from the aged people who can also contribute to this cause even after aging 60. The event also marked the presentation of a drama `Drops for Life’ directed by President Thalassemia Awareness and Prevention Pakistan Ayesha Abid and performed by students from Shifa College of Medicine aimed at shunning fears and misconceptions of cast, religion and diseases about the blood donations.