What is the need? What is the AIM?
Human blood and blood products are widely used in acute hospital care all over the world.
As the medical technology advanced, so did the use of blood and blood products.
The widespread use of blood would not have been possible without the discovery of blood groups by Karl Landstenier at the beginning of this century. However, if discovery of blood groups made transfusion safe at the dawn of the twentieth century, discovery of HIV virus and its transmission through blood and blood products, at the dusk of the last century has posed new threats to safer transfusion. Although more and more sophisticated laboratory techniques are being developed for detection of transfusion transmitted infections, till date, none is 100% foolproof. Hence, provision of safe and quality blood now is perceived as a continuous process which starts with collection of blood from a safe donor. During the pre HIV era, the thrust of judging the safety of blood was on laboratory testing. However, after the HIV pandemic, the thrust is equally on selection of safe donors, through recruitment program, pre-donation counseling, questionnaires, interviews along with a battery of laboratory tests.
It is a well-known fact that voluntary and non-remunerated donors are safer than other types of donors. A true voluntary donor is described as one who donates blood out of his/her own free will, without any coercion and for purely altruistic/humanitarian motives. Such a donor has no reason to hide any information about his/her health status. In Mauritius till recently, replacement donors far outnumbered voluntary donors and most were one time donors. Blood donation is perceived as an art, whereby the community is participating in the health need of an individual. It is a very sensitive social indicator. It tells something about the quality of human relationship prevailing in the society.
In Mauritius, we have seen that during a time of crisis, whenever an appeal has been made for blood donation, people from all backgrounds have come forward in large numbers. This indicates that people do care about their fellow individuals. So, what prevents them from doing the same on a regular basis? There may be many factors – inconvenience, apathy, ignorance, fear.
Blood Donors Association has been created with the aim of educating, informing, motivating and recruiting people into the act of donating blood voluntarily and regularly. It will bring various socio-cultural and other organisations which are involved in organising blood donations under one roof to share knowledge, experience and ideas in motivating blood donors. Through Blood Donors Association, community will be encouraged to participate more in the well being of individuals in our hospitals. In fact, Blood Donors Association will act as a bridge between the community on one hand, and hospital and transfusion service on the other.
Blood Donors Association would prepare educational material for the population and develop communication and marketing skills for donor recruitment and retention. The ultimate aim of Blood Donors Association is to have 100% voluntary blood so that no burden is put on the patient and his relatives for provision of blood.
SOME FACTS ABOUT BLOOD DONORS ASSOCIATION