A blood donation occurs when a person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for transfusions and/or made into biopharmaceutical medications by a process called fractionation (separation of whole-blood components). Blood donors are grouped into voluntary donors, replacement donors, and paid donors. The safest of these is the voluntary donor blood. Blood banking is highly regulated to ensure both donor and recipient safety. The goal of blood banking is to provide adequate and safe blood to recipients at no risk to donors.
The Nigerian government encourages men to donate blood once every four months and women should do so every three months to meet Nigeria’s estimated blood needs which stands at 1.8 million units of blood per annum.
Available statistics show that only 10 per cent of Nigerians donate blood freely while 60 per cent do it for money while remaining 30 per cent of blood donors only gave to relatives in need.
How To Donate Blood In Nigeria
Once you decide to donate blood in Nigeria the first step is to walk into any health facility that provides blood banking services especially clinics and hospitals involved in maternal and child care. Once in the facility you will be required to provide your personal identification details, your medical history, and undergoing a quick physical examination. You’ll also be given some information about blood donation to read.
Once you’re ready, your blood donation procedure will begin. Whole blood donation is the most common type of donation. This is because it offers the most flexibility. It can be transfused as whole blood or separated into red cells, platelets, and plasma for different recipients.
For a whole blood donation procedure:
- You’ll be seated in a reclining chair. You can donate blood either sitting or lying down.
- A small area of your arm will be cleaned. A sterile needle will then be inserted.
- You’ll remain seated or lying down while a pint of your blood is drawn. This takes 8 to 10 minutes.
- When a pint of blood has been collected, a staff member will remove the needle and bandage your arm.
Other types of donation include:
- platelet donation (plateletpheresis)
- plasma donation (plasmapheresis)
- double red cell donation
These types of donations are performed using a process called apheresis. An apheresis machine is connected to both of your arms. It collects a small amount of blood and separates the components before returning the unused components back to you. This cycle is repeated several times over approximately two hours.
Once your donation is complete, you’ll be given a snack and a drink and be able to sit and rest for 10 or 15 minutes before you leave. If you feel faint or nauseous, you’ll be able to lie down until you feel better.
During a regular donation, you will give around 470 ml of whole blood. This is about eight per cent of the average adult’s blood volume. The body replaces this volume within 24 to 48 hours, and replenishes red blood cells in 10 to 12 weeks
Health Benefits Of Donating Blood
Blood donation not only makes the receiver’s life good but also helps the donor to maintain good health. The health benefits of donating blood are mentioned below.
Health benefits of blood donation include reduced risk of hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis is a health condition that arises due to excess absorption of iron by the body. This may be inherited or may be caused due to alcoholism, anemia or other disorders. Regular blood donation may help in reducing iron overload. Make sure that the donor meets the standard blood donation eligibility criteria.
Blood donation helps in lowering the risk of cancer. By donating blood the iron stores in the body are maintained at healthy levels. A reduction in the iron level in the body is linked with low cancer risk.
Maintains Healthy Heart & Liver
Blood donation is beneficial in reducing the risk of heart and liver ailments caused by the iron overload in the body. Intake of iron-rich diet may increase the iron levels in the body, and since only limited proportions can be absorbed, excess iron gets stored in heart, liver, and pancreas. This, in turn, increases the risk of cirrhosis, liver failure, damage to the pancreas, and heart abnormalities like irregular heart rhythms. Blood donation helps in maintaining the iron levels and reduces the risk of various health ailments.
Regular blood donation reduces the weight of the donors. This is helpful to those who are obese and are at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health disorders. However, blood donation should not be very frequent and you may consult your doctor before donating blood to avoid any health issues.
Stimulates Blood Cell Production
After donating blood, the body works to replenish the blood loss. This stimulates the production of new blood cells and in turn, helps in maintaining good health. See: How Much Do You Have To Weigh To Donate Blood