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July, 2020

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Why : Voluntary Blood Donation
Voluntary blood donors are the cornerstone of a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood products. The safest blood donors are voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors from low-risk populations.
Despite this notion, family/replacement donors still provide more than 45% of the blood collected in India. Such donors are supposed to be associated with a significantly higher prevalence of transfusion-transmissible infection (TTIs) including HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, syphilis and malaria.
For a safe blood service in our country, where comprehensive laboratory tests are neither possible nor pragmatic, it is best to switch over to 100% voluntary donations, as it is now established that only voluntary non-remunerated regular donation is the safest. Thus, one of our key strategies to enhance blood safety is to focus on motivating non-remunerated blood donors and phasing out even replacement donors.
The key to recruiting and retaining safe blood donors is good epidemiological data on the prevalence (and incidence, where possible) of infectious markers in the general population to indentify low-risk donor populations coupled with an effective donor education, motivation and recruitment strategy to recruit new voluntary non-remunerated blood donors form these populations. A pleasant environment in the blood bank, good donor care, polite and effective communication between staff and donors are all important factors for the retention of blood donors.
A guideline designed to assist those responsible for blood donor recruitment and implement a programme to improve communication with blood donors has been developed. These guidelines provide approaches for organizing, collecting information and developing plans; as well as providing ideas that individual centres might consider for recruiting, educating and retaining safe donors.
Definitions Related to Blood Donors/ Donations
A. Voluntary non-remunerated blood donor
  1. A person who gives blood, plasma or other blood components of his/her own free will and receives no payment for it, either in the form of cash or in-kind which could be considered a substitute for money. This includes time off work, other than reasonably needed for the donation and travel. Small tokens, refreshments and reimbursement of the direct travel costs are compatible with voluntary, non-remunerated blood donation.
  2. “Voluntary” blood donation refers to “unpaid, non-remunerated” blood donation.
  3. An altruistic donor who gives blood freely and willingly without receiving money or any other form of payment.
Categories of Voluntary blood donor
  1. New voluntary donor: A voluntary non-remunerated blood donor who has never donated blood before.
  2. Lapsed voluntary donor: A voluntary non-remunerated blood donor who has given blood in the past but does not fulfill the criteria for a regular donor.
  3. Regular voluntary donor: A voluntary non-remunerated blood donor who donates blood on a regular basis without any break for a longer duration between tow donations.
Regular Voluntary Non-Remunerated Blood Donor
A voluntary non-remunerated blood donor who has donated at least three times, the last donation being within the previous year, and continues to donate regularly at least once per year.
B. Other categories of blood donors
  1. Family / replacement blood donor
    1. A donor who gives blood when it is required by a member of the patient's family or community. This may involve a hidden paid donation system in which the donor is paid by the patient's family
    2. A family / replacement donor is one who gives blood when it is required by a member of his/her family or community. This often involves coercion and/or payment which compromise the safety of the blood.
    3. A member of the family or a friend of the patient who donates blood in replacement of blood needed for the particular patient without involvement of any monetary or other benefits from any source.
  2. Paid / Professional blood donor
    A donor who donates blood in exchange of money or other form of payment. The professional blood donation is banned in our country w.e.f. 1st January 1998.
  3. Forced blood donor
    A person who is not willing to donate blood on his/her own, but is being forced by their superiors or employer for donation. There is always a fear of losing ones own job or promotion.
  4. Autologous blood donor
    A patient who donates his/her blood to be stored and reinfused, if needed, during surgery. The patient themselves acts as a blood donor.
  5. Autologous blood donation
    The process of donating one's own blood prior to an elective surgical or medical procedure to avoid or reduce the need for an allergenic blood transfusion.
  6. Apheresis donor
    A donor who donates only one of their blood components through the process of cell separation. This donor may be either voluntary or replacement donor.
Goal & Objectives of Voluntary Blood Donation
To wipe off the scarcity of blood and ensure availability of safe and quality blood and other blood components, round the clock and throughout the year. This will lead to alleviation of human sufferings, even to the far-flung remote areas in the country.
Objective: Voluntary blood donation is perhaps one of the most perfect examples of altruism in action. The objective of collecting blood through voluntary blood donation are:
  • Provide safe and quality blood and blood components collected from voluntary donors, round the clock, at affordable cost to the general public and free of cost to the poor.
  • Ensure safety and quality of blood.
  • Motivate and maintain a permanent well-indexed record of voluntary blood donors.
  • Educating the community on the beneficial aspects of blood donation and harmful effect of collecting blood from paid donors.
  • Actively encourage voluntary blood donation and gradually eliminate professional blood donors.
  • Promote AIDS awareness and education to the general public.
  • Assists the various Organizations, Clubs, Colleges, Public & Private Institutions and the Public to conduct voluntary blood donation drives and arrange for motivational talks to enable progressively increase the number of voluntary non-remunerated blood donors every year.