SKMC launches blood donation drive for its employees

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The Abu Dhabi Blood Bank, which operates under the direction of the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City managed by Cleveland Clinic launched a blood donation campaign for two days 24 and 25 March 2009 at SKMC

Staff from the various facilities that comprise the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City volunteered in response to the growing demand for blood and blood components. The campaign exceeded its goal of donors and more than 65 blood unit were collected by the end of the first day.

SKMC is owned and operated by Seha, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, which is responsible for the curative activities of all the public hospitals and clinics in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The Blood Bank provides blood supply covering the needs of governmental and private hospitals in Abu Dhabi and provides support to the other Emirates. Blood transfusions often are needed for trauma victims due to accidents and burns, heart surgery, organ transplants, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other diseases, such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia.

The Abu Dhabi Blood Bank medical staff performed tests for hemoglobin, blood pressure and blood type. The blood collection process takes approximately 10-20 minutes per donor while the entire process from the time volunteers register and begin the screening until they leave took approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Educational brochures, leaflets and posters were distributed around the facility to raise awareness among the employees about donating blood.

Volunteers provide nearly all the nation’s blood supply for transfusion; there is no substitute for Human Blood. If eligible donors give blood twice a year, it would greatly help in maintaining an adequate blood supply for the country. Eligible blood donors can donate blood 3-4 times a year safely.

Dr. Atul Mehta, Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Laila Abdel Wareth, Chairman of Laboratory Medicine at SKMC praised the efforts of Dr. Maria M. Araneta, Head of SKMC Transfusion Medicine Services and Dr. Naima Oumeziane, Clinical Head of the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank for organizing the event and thanked the staff who donated blood to save lives.

The Blood Bank staff ensures that international standards are complied with and that all blood donors were carefully screened to meet strict criteria and that all blood that is donated undergoes 6 major tests for infectious disease. The blood donation process is very safe; the health care team at the Blood Bank will assess donors to ensure their safety. It is not possible to acquire any disease through donating blood because only new, disposable, sterilized equipment is used for each donor.

The Abu Dhabi Blood Bank hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday from 7:00 am to 9:00pm and on Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm. Organizations that would like to host the Mobile Blood Bank can call the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank to make arrangements.

The Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Criteria for Blood Donors:

– He/She must be in good physical condition and overall good health (a basic physical is given to check blood pressure, weight, temperature and hemoglobin)
– He/She must be at least 18 years old
– He/She must be a minimum weight of 50kgs
– He/She must successfully complete a health history questionnaire

If the donor successfully meets the above criteria, the blood drawn will be tested and screened for the following 6 infectious diseases (in addition to ABO and RH Blood Type):

1. HIV 1 and 2 Antibody / HIV p24 Antigen (AIDS)
2. Hepatitis B Core Antibody (antiHBc)
3. Hepatitis C Antibody (anti HCV)
4. HTLV I and II Antibody (anti HTLV I and II)
5. Serological Test for Syphilis
6. Hepatitis B Surface Antigen (HBs Ag)

Approximately every three seconds, someone needs blood. By donating one unit of blood a donor can help save the lives of up to three people. One unit of blood is separated into several components. These components are red blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate. Red Blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues in the body and contain hemoglobin which gives it its red color and must be used within 42 days. Platelets help blood to clot and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live. Platelets must be used within 5 days. Plasma helps maintain blood pressure, carries blood cells, nutrients, enzymes and hormones, and supplies critical proteins for blood clotting and immunity. Plasma can be frozen and used for up to one year. And finally cryoprecipitate, a component of blood obtained by freezing and thawing plasma. Cryoprecipitate is useful in replacing some clotting factors in patients missing them congenitally or because of operation or trauma.

International Distribution by Blood Type:

The approximate international distribution of blood types is as follows. Distribution may be different for specific racial and ethnic groups:

O Rh-positive — 38%
O Rh-negative — 7%
A Rh-positive — 34%
A Rh-negative — 6%
B Rh-positive — 9%
B Rh-negative — 2%
AB Rh-positive — 3%
AB Rh-negative — 1%

In an emergency, anyone can receive type O red blood cells, and type AB individuals can receive red blood cells of any ABO type. Therefore, people with type O blood are known as ‘universal donors,’ and those with type AB blood are known as ‘universal recipients.’ In addition, AB plasma donors can give to all blood types.


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