Mrs. Akachi lay on the hospital bed barely conscious. The room felt silent and still, despite the frantic movements from the medical team battling to stop her bleeding. Her newborn was crying in the next room, and her heart leapt. She wanted to speak, to ask for her baby, but as hard as she tried, her lips did not move. Her words remained loud whispers in her head, and she felt the weakness taking over.
“She needs blood, sir. She has lost a lot of blood & we are close to stopping the bleeding, but she needs blood right now.”
“Blood…” Mr. Akachi’s hands were shaking, and his voice as fragile as china placed on the edge of a table.
“Okay, what can I do?”
“Just drop this request form at the blood bank.”
Mr. Akachi ran off, clutching the form tightly like his wife’s life depended on it.
Mrs. Akachi lived. She lived because blood was available in the blood bank that day. Not everyone was so lucky, and the doctor let Mr. Akachi know that. As the Akachis left the hospital with their baby, Mr. Akachi made a silent vow to donate blood regularly. A stranger’s blood had saved his wife’s life, and he vowed to pay the favor forward.
Nigeria has one of the lowest blood donation rates in the world with only 10% donating blood voluntarily. Indeed, many people are scared of the procedure and only donate blood when they have a relative in dire need. This low rate of donation leads to a deficit as Nigeria needs about 2 million units of blood, yet only 500,000 pints are collected annually.
This shortage contributes significantly to our poor health indices. For instance, Nigeria’s Maternal Mortality Rate is 814/100,000 live births. This is 14% of the world’s maternal mortality, and the leading cause of this mortality is post-partum hemorrhage i.e. bleeding after delivery.
Blood donation is a safe procedure that is also beneficial to the donor. A few of these benefits are listed below:
Discovery of Underlying Health Issues
Before you donate blood, you will be evaluated to ensure you are fit & your blood will be screened for diseases like HIV and Hepatitis. This can help you discover previously unknown health conditions.
This is a health condition that is caused by excess iron absorption by the body. It can be caused by chronic intake of alcohol, or by anemia. Blood donation reduces your iron levels and your chances of developing hemochromatosis.
Stimulates blood production
Donating blood helps to stimulate your bone marrows to produce new blood cells to replace the ones you donate. This stimulation is a good event as it keeps you in good health.
Regular blood donation helps you lose weight. Obese people and those at risk of cardiovascular diseases benefit a lot from this.
Boosts your mental health
Doing good deeds like donating blood helps to increase the levels of your ‘feel good’ hormones like endorphins, which in turn boost your emotional well-being and mental health.
Things To Know
You may feel a bit lightheaded or dizzy after donating blood, but this should only last for a few minutes.
Men can donate blood up to 4 times a year, and women up to 3 times.
To donate blood, simply go to the blood donation centre in a hospital usually at a General Hospital or a Teaching Hospital
Every pint of blood goes a long way towards saving a life. Become a lifesaver today!
By Dr.Okonkwor Oyor C.