World Blood Donor Day | Give the gift of life: donate blood

Neetu Ralhan
All age groups

Created by Neetu Ralhan
Updated on Jun 14, 2013

World Blood Donor Day Give the gift of life donate blood

Today, 14 June, 2013 is the 10th Anniversary of World Blood Donor Day. Founded by imminent international health organizations in the year 2004 to promote voluntary unpaid blood donation throughout the world, World Blood Donor Day is a worldwide campaign to encourage regular blood donation by healthy citizens. Through this campaign, WHO has been urging governments to develop national blood donation networks so that every country may obtain 100% blood supply from voluntary unpaid donors. In simpler terms, this means that no one should have to wait for blood or purchase blood in an emergency.

This year’s host country France is holding the global event in Paris. The year’s slogan, "Give the gift of life: donate blood" aptly highlights the value of blood donation to the millions of people who lose their lives due to shortage of blood.

Apart from blood donation camps, participant countries organize events such as art competitions, music concerts, cultural programs and award ceremonies to felicitate blood donors and motivate healthy young people to donate blood. Blood donation is a very noble cause and if the need arises, perhaps there are many amongst us who would willfully donate blood to save someone’s life. Perhaps what deters us is not knowing how to go about it. Here’s hoping that the following information will encourage fellow proparents to consider blood donation.

Who can donate blood?

Any healthy individual between the age of 18 and 60 years can donate blood. An adult of average weight has about 10-12 units of blood in their body. In one donation, approximately 350-400ml blood is collected which counts as 1 unit of blood.

If your blood group is O-negative, you are a universal donor, which means that your blood can be given to anyone. If your blood group is AB+, you are a universal donor of blood plasma which is required in emergencies, massive transfusions and for newborn babies.

Why should I donate blood?

Here’s 7 good reasons why every healthy individual may consider donating blood.

1.It is estimated that every 2 seconds someone needs blood and one in every 10 persons entering a hospital may need blood.
2.If an 18 year old donated blood every 90 days until the age of 60, they would have donated 30 gallons of blood and would have saved more than 500 lives.
3.Every year our country requires about 40 million units of blood while only 4 million is available.
4.With one blood donation, you may be saving many lives. Donated blood is separated into its various components (red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets) which may be used for different patients.
5.Our country needs more than 38,000 blood donations every day.
6.You may be saving a child’s life. According to the WHO, in low and middle income countries like India almost 65% of all collected blood is used for children under the age of 5 years.
7.ln our country, less than 10 donations per 1000 population are collected. We simply need more donors.

Who cannot donate?

It is very important to truthfully reveal your health status before donating blood. Every donor’s hemoglobin, temperature, pulse and weight is checked before blood is drawn to ensure that they are fit to donate. According to, you may not donate blood if you have any of the following conditions:

  • If a person weighs less than 45 kg.
  • If the person has consumed alcohol within the last 48 hours or smoked tobacco on the day of donation.
  • If the person is on antibiotics or other medication.
  • If a person has had a major surgery in the recent months.
  • If the person has had cold or fever in the last 1 week.
  • If the person is suffering from heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, epilepsy, sexually transmitted disease.
  • If the person has a history of cancer, kidney or liver disease.
  • In case of a women, if she has had a miscarriage in the last 6 months or has been pregnant or lactating in the last one year.
  • If a person has a history of drug addiction or had sexual relations with different partners or with a high risk individual.
  • If the person is HIV+ve

Where can I donate?

One could go to a blood donation center or a mobile blood donation camp organized in their area. For example, The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi runs a 24-hour blood bank. A healthy donor can walk in and donate blood between 9am and 5pm on any day except Sunday. You can find detailed information about blood banks in your area online.
You can also register yourself as a blood donor online at an NGO, or a private or government run blood bank.

Will donating blood make me weak?

Your body can replace the blood volume (plasma) within 48 hours of donation. It takes 4-8 weeks to replenish the red blood cells you donated. To regain any lost strength, every donor is offered light refreshment once the donation is complete. Some people may experience dizziness and are advised to rest before resuming their routine activities.

I want to but I do not have the time.

The actual blood donation takes only 8-10 minutes. The total time you need to spare is about 45 minutes which includes the time taken to record your medical history in a short form and a quick health checkup to ensure that you are fit to donate blood.

What happens to the blood I donated?

Within 8 hours of collection, your blood may be separated into its various components. After further testing to ensure that it is safe for transfusion, it will be stocked in special storage until needed.

That felt great, when can I donate again?

You can donate again after 3 months have passed since your last blood donation. Plasma or platelet donations can be made every 2-3 weeks.

If you have a question about blood donation that has not been addressed here or need help with information regarding blood donation centers in your area, please feel free to share your query in the comments below.

                                      Today’s Donor May Be Tomorrow’s Recipient

Credits: World Health Organization

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| Jun 18, 2013

Thanks Neetu for making us aware of the facts about blood donation :?)

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| Jun 14, 2013

Thank you Neetu. We all must be aware of the facts about blood donation. But what made the most impact for me was the last phrase! Great one yet again :)

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