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Volunteers donating blood at the Blood Donor Unit of the HMC yesterday.(Salim Matramkot)
By Isabel Ovalle
DOHA: Over 22,000 people donated blood in Qatar in 2012 and there was an increase in demand due to the new hospitals and the growing population.
Sadika Ismail Al Mahmoudi (pictured above), Coordinator of Donor’s Affairs at Hamad Medical Coroporation (HMC), told The Peninsula: “We have to concentrate on new donors in order to reach 30,000 in the next three or four years.
“There is a need for donors from all blood types, especially O+, to provide blood for all surgeries that take place in Qatar,” she added. In spite of the increase in population and the recently inaugurated hospitals, she said, “we still need help to support and help patients, but we never wait until there is a severe shortage.”
When there is an extreme need for a certain type of blood group, the bank turns to its data base and sends text messages to all available donors. “All the community needs to help patients, we need more blood every day,” said Al Mahmoudi, adding that “in all hospitals in the world at some point there will be a shortage of a specific blood group”.
To cover all the hospitals’ needs, HMC will have a mobile campaign programme for a year, approaching different companies, the army, the Ministry of Interior and various expatriate communities, “given that sometimes it’s hard for donors to reach the centre”.
To accomplish this, the blood centre will add a new vehicle to its fleet, have two daily campaigns and work on Friday as well. For the last three years the centre has been taking only volunteer donors, having no family or paid donors, and requesting no blood from other countries.
People over 18 years old who weigh more than 50kg can donate blood. The Blood Donor Unit, located near the finance department at Hamad General Hospital, is open every day, except Friday, from 7am to 9,30pm and Saturday from 9am to 9pm.
Blood donors must be in good health and feel well on the day of the donation, have no chronic diseases of the heart, lungs or circulatory system. They also must have their Qatar ID and answer several questions such as if they have travelled in the last six months to a country where there is malaria or if they have recently undergone a surgery.
HMC also distributed a press release yesterday aiming to raise awareness among citizens and said that by donating blood, one person can save the lives of as many as three people.