Last updated July 10, 2017 at 5:19 pm
Blood is a vital resource. It’s crucial in times of emergency, such as natural disasters like earthquakes, and for the everyday crises people face like the ongoing medical treatment of people with blood disorders and cancer. Voluntary donations from healthy donors maintain safe and plentiful blood supplies the world over. However, in numerous countries donations fall short of these requirements, particularly in times of need, and the people who need this resource the most are often not able to afford it. That’s where amazing organisations like the WHO come in; they work along-side some other remarkable organisations, such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
In countries like Yemen and South Sudan, which have special needs due to ongoing conflicts, these organisations work with local government to increase stocks. Their work includes ensuring universal testing of donations to prevent transmission of infectious diseases and encouraging sensible and ethical use of existing blood products. All of their hard work goes towards guaranteeing safe, organised and self-sufficient national blood supplies in countries the world over.
Here in Australia, this important work is carried out by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS). The many staff, volunteers and of course numerous generous blood donors of the ARCBS make concerted efforts to provide us lucky Aussies with what we can proudly say is one of the safest and best blood supplies in the world and most importantly, its free-of-cost!
As part of donor week, and of the larger goal, the ARCBS uses some cool tools to inform donors how their precious donations are put to good use, shows you if you are eligible to give blood via a quiz, and also lets you make an appointment to donate as an individual or as a group. This extraordinary organisation also does a lot of terrific research into improving the donor experience, especially in terms of supporting first-time donors through the nerves, and looking into how to encourage donors to return. If this leaves you with any doubt about this noble cause, then there are plenty of real patient stories that will warm your heart!
Take for instance young Jo, who received multiple transfusions from several donors, of the various blood components – red cells, plasma and platelets – over time, which helped him beat his childhood diagnosis of bladder cancer. Eleanor, on the other hand, needed several emergency bags of red blood cells to save her life when bleeding complications threatened her life during the delivery of her first child, and now she is studying to be a mid-wife and supporting new mothers in her spare time!
So if this has piqued your curiosity at all and you want to know how you can get involved, there are plenty of ways to do so, particularly during donor week. You can also get online and read about the life saving and life altering work that the Australian Red Cross Blood Service is doing in your own city/town, and abroad, such as in the Solomon Islands, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea, all to keep us all ‘Bloody safe’!