Hundreds of Bhutanese gathered to donate blood last Friday during the donation drive, and to observe the World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) at the Clock Tower Square, Thimphu.
This year observes the 10th anniversary of WBDD since its inception in 2004‚ which will focus on the value of donated blood to the patient‚ not only in saving lives, but also to help people live longer and more productive lives.
The event felicitated the donors and organization who have helped not only in saving the lives of people, but also in making them better.
Speaking at the event, the Health Secretary and Chairman of the function Dasho Nima Wangdi expressed gratitude to donors and urged the Bhutanese to voluntarily donate blood.
“Blood in Bhutan is freely accessible, whereas in other countries, one has to pay. In religious view donating blood is a virtuous deed,” he said.
He also spoke on people’s misconception on donating the blood that it will bring health complications, which he said is nothing the healthy food and diet can’t fix.
“The donors are the unsung heroes who save the lives of those people who they know or do not know,” said Dr Mahrukh Getshen.
She spoke on the importance of the blood check-up before transfusion as it must ensure the quality of blood.
Currently, the annual requirement of blood in Bhutan is 10,000 units of which presently 60% are collected from the voluntary donors, whereas rest 40% are from the family and replacement donors.
The message from the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director, South East Region Dr Samlee Plianbangchang was also read at the occasion by Dr Nani Nair. The message said blood saves millions of lives each year and WHO will provide technical support to provide global efforts in augmenting the availability of safe blood.
Director of Department of Public Health Dr Ugyen Dophu said there is the need of blood transfusion for the patients suffering from chronic liver disease, during delivery, blood cancer, accidents, etc. Also, through blood tests and check up diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, syphilis, malaria can be diagnosed. One can donate blood every 3 months, and each bag will be transfusion-able for four people.
One of the donors at the event, Kezang Jigme has been donating since 2004, and has donated 47 times till date.
After donating twice, a graduate, Sonam Chedup who came to donate said, “If it is not possible to save lives of people like a doctor, at least by donating we can bring change in the lives of people who need blood, and will be continuing donating”.
There were 469 registered for the blood donation drive of which 110 were rejected. The event was organized by Bank of Bhutan Ltd (BoB), Ministry of Health (MoH) with Bhutan Telecom Ltd (BTL), and Norling Events.
The event is observed on June 14 every year and is regulated worldwide by WHO. This year, WHO targeted all countries to obtain 100% of their supplies of blood and blood products through voluntary unpaid blood donors by 2020.
Every year a slogan is chosen and volunteers make blood donations under the slogan.
This year’s slogan for the celebration is ‘Give the Gift of Life, Donate Blood.’
Thukten Zangpo/ Thimphu