In recognition of blood donation as the life blood of medical practice, Qatar Health 2009, the premier international medical congress and exhibition in the Middle East, has set up a blood donation vehicle for the duration of its congress.
Parked right in front of the Doha Exhibition Centre’s main entrance, the blood drive is a symbolic reminder of why all the professionals from around the world have come together to Qatar Health 2009: to keep the flow of medical knowledge and technology going.
The vehicle is also there to help Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) blood donation unit reach its 100% target of volunteer blood. As of 2008, as much as 85% of the 17,000 units of blood used in all transfusions in Qatar was from blood donations. Alternatively, other sources of blood for patients are donations from patients’ relatives and self- donations made 10 days prior to an operation.
The average amount of blood received from a single donor is nearly half a litre. That is roughly one-tenth the amount needed for a single transfusion for one patient. According to Seddiqua Al Mahmoudi, coordinator of donor’s affairs at HMC, there is an average of 85 units of blood daily donated in Qatar.
Blood is indispensible as it is the medium for carrying all oxygen and nutrients to the tissues of the body for it to function properly. In fact, it cannot be manufactured or replaced by any other material making blood donation the life blood for patient care.
While fear of needles and the possibility of infection are common deterrents from blood donation, Al Mahmoudi’s 28 years of experience in blood banks says otherwise. Blood donation not only reactivates blood circulation and prompts bone marrow activity, but also has positive psychological effects. She explained that when people are made aware of their health as a blessing that they can share with others, they are more likely to enjoy their health.
“HMC understands this and that is why we honour the donor’s gracious act through moral, symbolic rewards and certificates of appreciation. On the 14th of June of every year, we hold a ceremony to honour our top 500 donors that make saving lives possible,” added Al Mahmoudi.
HMC staff ensures that blood donation is safe and hygienic through its streamlined procedures of registration, donation and screening. Blood donation takes no more than 15-20 minutes.
The blood donation vehicle will be available every day from 9am to 9pm for the duration of the conference which is set to finish on December 16th, 2009.
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