Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Fujairah: In a country of more than 3 million people, it came as quite a shock for residents who saw an advertisement asking for blood.

The appeal was posted late last week by George Anson, 49, on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter in a bid to save his wife's life.

Kirsty urgently needed a blood transfusion after delivering her baby by Caesarean section, but her O-negative blood type was unavailable in Dubai or Sharjah.

Through the networking sites, hundreds of people pledged their support, offering to donate blood for the cause. But eventually, sufficient supplies arrived from the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank.

City Talk took to the streets and asked residents if they have ever donated blood and if they are worried about a blood shortage in the country.

Olivia Faujour, a French physiotherapist, 24, said: "I am very concerned about the amount of blood available. Back home, we have a lot of lectures about the importance of donating blood and health officials will visit schools once a month to get students to donate blood. Health authorities need to make more advertisements that stress the importance of donating blood."

Romelda Macabata, a Filipina beauty therapist, 45, said: "We are human after all, so I think it is natural for us to worry about things, and in this case we worry about there not being enough blood in the blood banks. I used to work in a hospital and have donated blood twice. But I think that the public are not completely aware of the difference they can make if they donate blood.'

Taher Hussain, a 24-year-old Pakistani driver, said: "I think there is definitely enough blood in the country but I do not think it is popular among residents to donate their blood. Even though I have not done it here, I did it three times in Pakistan after the earthquake happened."

Mohammad Al Zeghaty, a 28-year-old senior relationship manager from Canada, said: "I have a needle phobia as I had a bad childhood experience regarding hospitals; I was once hospitalised briefly and received multiple injections over a period of one week. I am not so much afraid of a blood shortage in the UAE as I feel there are decent health services."

Ahmad Abdul Sathar, a 23-year-old Egyptian sales executive, said: "I only gave blood once in my life and it was an emergency, because a driver had a car accident and suffered cardio-arrest and needed an urgent blood transfusion. I do not mind giving blood when asked but the risk of contracting contagious medical conditions through blood transfusions scare me - we hear about it all the time. I used to be scared of injections as a child but I got over that fear."

Mariam San Pedro, a Filipina head of staff services, said: "It is necessary to donate blood at least three times a year. I am not afraid of needles but I am worried about diseases and unsafe needles. However, with the amount of road accidents and medical problems one hears about these days, it is only humane to donate your blood."

Sanjeev Menon, a 42-year-old media manager from India, said: "I do give blood but not on a regular basis. It tends to be when there is a collection or appeal or at social events, but I do think it is a good and important concept. I heard a few stories of hospitals running out of blood in urgent cases and it does make me feel concerned about what would happen if I, or a loved one, was in a similar situation. Most people are aware of the importance of donating blood but for one reason or another not many do. I think there is a collective responsibility, especially on hospitals and health authorities to remind people of this issue."

Ahmad Hassan, a photocopier technician from Egypt, said: "I donated once to a friend who was in a car accident and was in need of my blood type but I have not done it again since. I am for the idea and I think it is a very important duty."

Your comments

I've been wanting to donate blood for a long time, and still I feel my life won't be complete if I won't be able to do something for other people and one of these things is donating blood. I would really love to, the thing is, we can't find the proper way, and time to do so. I personally would love to be a volunteer in this act...
Posted: May 17, 2009, 17:16

It's not only awareness. It's all bout willingness. I have donated 14 times in the UAE so far, (including one on 13th May) and few times while in India. We are a group of people donating regularly here.
Skariah John Parayil
Posted: May 17, 2009, 13:26

(O Negative) is a rare blood type and it's like a gold standard in blood types, very hard to find. I do not know if you can cultivate blood in laboratory, but finding O- does become a challenge. I think there should be an awareness campaign about rare blood types so people can donate in order to make sure somoene lives because of thier donation. it's a big favour to the humanity.
Posted: May 17, 2009, 13:17

Many youths are not aware of the importance of blood donation-college students to be motivated to donate blood through conducting the donation camps in the campus. After donating within few hours fresh/healthy blood shall be metabolically formed in the body of the donors-website sonsisting of donors may be made available to all hospitals.
Mohammad Asgher
Posted: May 17, 2009, 12:09

It is necessary to donate blood but many of them don't know where
Posted: May 17, 2009, 11:19

Donating blood is a noble act and can save lives. It should be concientously imparted to each able-bodied citizen as a social responsibility.
Flex J
Posted: May 17, 2009, 10:59

i am willing to donate my blood regularly by doing this not only can i help others but this is good for me too. pls guide me how to donate blood.
Abdul Rahman
Posted: May 17, 2009, 10:43