Blood Donation Saves Lives
Blood is vital for life and for many people, blood donors are their lifeline. Currently, it is thought that only 1 in 30 people give blood, but 1 in 3 people will need blood in their lifetime.
Every week, the Port Moresby General Hospital needs approximately 400 bags of clean blood to assist those in need. To collect that many donations the blood bank team will screen approximately 800 volunteers each week as not everyone who volunteers will be able to donate due to health reasons.
Blood can only be stored for a limited amount of time before use which is why there is a constant need for regular blood supply. Regular blood donations by a sufficient number of healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will always be available.
Modern processing techniques mean that your single blood donation when separated into its components (red cells, plasma and platelets), can help at least three different patients by making vital products which treat many conditions.
This means your decision to donate can save a life, or even several.
Want To Become A Regular Blood Donor?
Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person.
The Port Moresby General Hospital Blood Bank is open 7 days. Walk on in between 9am and 3pm any day.
Who Does Donated Blood Help?
- Women with complications of pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancies and hemorrhage before, during or after childbirth
- Children with severe anemia often resulting from malaria or malnutrition
- People with severe trauma following accidents
- Surgical and cancer patients
- Transfusions for people with conditions such as thalassaemia and sickle cell disease
- Blood is used to make products such as clotting factors for people with haemophilia
Want to Know if You are Eligible to Donate Blood?
Most people are able to give blood if they:
- Are fit, healthy and not suffering from a cold, flu or other illness at the time of donation or in the previous 7 days
- Are aged between 16-60 years
- Weigh at least 50kgs
- Drink at least 3 glasses of water/juice in the 3 hours before donating blood
- Eat something in the 3 hours before donating blood
Tips for a Successful Donation
Before Your Donation
Diet: Maintain a healthy iron level in your diet by eating iron rich foods, such as red meat, fish, leafy greens, beans, iron-fortified cereals, eggs and raisins
Sleep: It’s important to get a good night’s sleep before blood donation
Hydrate: Drink plenty of water or juice in the days before donation and extra 3 non-alcoholic drinks In the 3 hours leading up to your donation which will help prepare your body for an extra loss of fluids
Eat a healthy meal before donating: Avoid foods high in fat (burgers, ice-cream, chips, etc.) before donating. Fatty foods can affect the tests performed on your blood such as those that test for infectious diseases and you may be unable to donate blood
Avoid Alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours before blood donation
Avoid Aspirin: If you are a platelet donor, remember that your system must be free of aspirin for two days before donation. If you are on any other medications it is important to continue taking these as prescribed
During Your Donation
- Wear clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow
- Let the person taking your blood know if you have a preferred arm and show them any good veins that have been used successfully in the past to draw blood
- Relax, listen to music, talk to other donors or read during the donation process
After Your Donation
- Take the time to enjoy a snack and a drink immediately after donating
- Drink plenty of liquids over the next 24- 48 hours to help replenish fluids lost through donation. Avoid alcohol
- As you may experience dizziness or loss of strength, use caution if you plan to do anything that could put you or others at risk of harm. For any hazardous occupation or hobby, follow applicable safety recommendations regarding your return to these activities following a blood donation
- If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness after donation, lie down until you feel better
Health Benefits of Being a Regular Blood Donor?
Did you know that blood donation not only saves lives but can improve your health too? Roll up your sleeves and donate blood today.
Those who donate:
Get a Mini Examination – Every blood donor gets a mini-physical prior to donation which includes checking your haemoglobin level, blood glucose levels, weight and blood pressure. Your blood will also be tested for infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis.
Please note: this should not be used as a replacement for regular medical care however it will give you a good indication of your general health such as finding out if you have been exposed to an infectious disease.
Have Better Blood Flow – Repeated blood donations may help your blood to flow better, possibly helping to limit damage to the lining of your blood vessels, which should result in fewer arterial blockages which can decrease your risk of having a stroke.
Phillip DeChristopher, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Loyola University Health System blood bank, told TIME: “What is clear is that blood donors seem to not be hospitalized so often, and if they are, they have shorter lengths of stay and are less likely to get heart attacks, strokes, and cancers.”
Balances Iron Levels in Your Blood – For each unit of blood donated, you lose about one-quarter of a gram of iron, which is one of the best ways to avoid the health risks associated with iron overload. Your body has a limited capacity to excrete iron, so it can easily build up in and damage organs like your liver, heart, and pancreas; many adult men and postmenopausal women are at risk for health problems associated with excess iron.
Burns Calories – People burn approximately 650 calories per donation of one pint (470 ml) of blood, according to the University of California, San Diego.
Reduces The Risk of Cancer – The Miller-Keystone Blood Center says that a consistency of blood donations is associated with lower risks of cancers including liver, lung, colon, and throat cancers due to the reduction in oxidative stress when iron is released from the bloodstream.
Preserves Cardiovascular Health – Blood viscosity is known to be a unifying factor for the risk of cardiovascular disease, says the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. How thick and sticky your blood is and how much friction your blood creates through the blood vessels can determine how much damage is done to the cells lining your arteries.
You can reduce your blood viscosity by donating blood on a regular basis, which eliminates the iron that may possibly oxidize in your blood. An increase in oxidative stress can be damaging to your cardiovascular system.
According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, blood donation also reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.