Apheresis: Safer, easier blood donating

The number of blood donors is rising rapidly. 90% of blood donations are voluntary, according to the Health Ministry. A decade ago, it was 54%. Today, the ministry announced a new programme to make blood donation easier.

National Referral Hospital currently offers apheresis. Apheresis removes blood components from a donor and returns the rest.

“We don’t need to donate blood like we did last year.” This helps remove only the needed blood component, says JDWNRH Blood Bank Incharge Mahrukh Getshen.

She stated the new machine increases blood donations. Previously, donors had to wait 3-4 months between donations. With apheresis, donors can give platelets twice a month. This reduces patient infections and acute responses. The machine reduces donor needs.

“The machine works like four to six donors per cycle. If we needed platelets, we needed four to six donors to give one unit of blood apiece. One donor may now do this. So, donor requirements will be lower, she said. The gadget will be used for platelet transfusions, she said. She said it’s a blood donation milestone. WHO funded the $3.4 million acquisition.

This year’s blood drive theme is “Donating blood is a gesture of solidarity.” Save lives!” According to the ministry, it aims to highlight the role of voluntary blood donations in saving lives and boosting community unity.

The ministry also promised to include Bhutan among countries with 100% voluntary, unpaid blood donation. In voluntary non-remunerated blood donation, the donor does it voluntarily and receives no recompense, monetarily or in kind.