Plan to Increase Blood Donation

Plan to Increase Blood DonationPlan to Increase Blood Donation

The Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization has plans to increase blood donation among regular donors so as to reach the target of 90%.

Over 2.1 million blood units are donated to the IBTO every year and its annual capacity has currently reached 400,000 liters of plasma production. There are 23 people per 1000, donating blood in the country.

Further, as the blood group O Negative, being a universal donor, can play a key role during emergency situations, the O Negative Club has been launched.

“Around 20,000 people die in road accidents every year in Iran and this club will hopefully help save lives of road accident victims,” said Ali Akbar Pourfathollah, head of the IBTO, at the 2nd Conference on the National Day of Rare Blood Types on Monday, IRNA reported.

To develop the club, O Negative holders, who make up 3 to 4% of Iran’s population, will be identified and encouraged to donate blood as and when necessary. The focus will also be on this rare blood type.

An O Negative blood donor has a particularly unique opportunity to help people in emergencies. O Negative blood cells are called “universal” meaning they can be transfused to almost any patient in need. But it is a relatively rare group compared to other blood groups.

Pilot schemes to attract blood donors have been implemented in three provinces, Kurdistan, Ardebil and Fars.

The scheme in Kurdistan attracted 7,000 first-time donors who underwent preliminary tests and will be ready to donate in four months.

“With more support and encouragement, all the first-timers are expected to gradually become regular donors,” he said not elaborating on what kind of support the scheme will offer volunteers.  

In Ardebil and Fars provinces, the schemes involve preparing blood products and plasma derivatives from both first-time and regular donors.

“With these pilot plans, we hopefully will be able to increase donation rates among regular volunteers to 90%, but the required infrastructure for blood storage has to be prepared,” said Pourfathollah.

To encourage more regular donors, the official proposed online registration networks be made available.

Iran has the highest rate of blood donation as well as the healthiest blood bank and also is a party to the International Panel of Rare Blood Donors and has been an exemplary member in the region.

The official said the IBTO is committed to storing seven times as much blood as is consumed.

With proper qualitative and quantitative storage, the country could take steps to fulfill the World Health Organization’s slogan of “safe and sufficient blood supply.”