World Blood Donor Day

World Blood Donor Day

World Blood Donor Day: Understanding the Significance of Donating Blood

14 June 2023  | Article is written by Dietitian Tan Jun Er (BP Healthcare Diagnostics Center, Muar, Johor)

(Image credit: Freepik)

The World Blood Donor Day falls on 14th June every year. On this day, we express our gratitude to all the voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood. The global theme of the World Blood Donor Day changes each year and this time round, the slogan is “Give blood and keep the World beating”. It highlights the essential contribution that blood donors make in saving lives and improving each other’s health.

Why Are Bloods Important?

Apart from blood transfusions conducted during emergency encounters such as trauma accidents, individuals with illnesses such as anaemia, cancer and many others also require regular blood transfusions. Hence, being a blood donor could contribute to a stable supply of safe blood and blood products for those in need, and provide continuous support to our national healthcare system.

What Are the Benefits of Donating Blood?

In Malaysia, only 2.5% of Malaysians who are physically fit to donate blood are blood donors, well below the international average of 5%. In fact, blood donors in Malaysia are entitled to many medical privileges, such as free outpatient treatment and Hepatitis B vaccination, offered by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Before every blood donation, blood donors also get a free screening that includes measuring blood pressure, pulse, and haemoglobin levels. Although they are not thorough tests, they may help in discovering underlying health concerns such as anaemia or hypertension. Moreover, the blood collected will be tested for diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis.

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Nutrition After a Blood Donation

After donating blood, individuals are encouraged to have enough rest and sufficient nutrients for blood cells regeneration.

A balanced, nutritious meal enriched with iron is essential for our body to replenish afterwards. Besides that, nutrients such as Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B9 are important too. A supplementation of iron & B vitamins may be needed for a speedy recovery especially if you are a vegetarian. These nutrients are often found in animal sources, especially Vitamin B12. You are highly encouraged to talk to your doctor or other healthcare professionals before donating blood.

A proper meal plan is vital as aftercare, which the principles applied to maximise iron absorption and blood cells regeneration. This meal plan is also widely applicable for those who have iron-deficiency or Vitamin B12-deficiency anaemia.

In addition to having a balanced and healthy meal, taking vitamin B12 supplements such as Nutridos B Combi Plus is also an easy and convenient way to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin B12.

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Happy World Blood Donor Day to all blood donors and the healthcare workers who work hard to improve others’ health, you all are real heroes!