For a cause. Blood donation camps are regularly held in various locations across the emirates Image Credit: GN Archives

Dubai: A new campaign launched by Facebook seeks to boost blood donations during Ramadan in the region. 
The campaign, titled ‘Giving is in your blood’, says, “It is okay to donate blood after iftar.”

Fill the gap

Rana Sidani Cassou, regional head of communications at the International Federation of Red Cross which has partnered with Facebook and Red Crescent Societies for the campaign, said, “We hope this campaign will help fill the gap in blood donations that we normally see during Ramadan. We are encouraging people to donate blood after they have broken their fast at sunset.”

 We encourage people to donate blood after they have broken their fast at sunset.”

 - Rana Sidani Cassou, IFRC 

But how prudent is it for those who are fasting all day to donate blood after Iftar?

Dr Suresh K. Menon, specialist internal medicine at Aster Gardens Speciality Clinic in Discovery Gardens, said, “Every time a donation takes place, 300-350ml of blood is drawn, which is a small amount given that the body contains five to six litres of blood. But there are cases where the donor gets dehydrated, feels dizzy and may have to take fluids to correct the dehydration. This is more so during summer.”

Combine this dynamic with Ramadan and the possibility of dehydration is stronger when people fast for 10-12 hours at a stretch.

Breaking the fast

“Donating blood when the fast is on is considered akin to breaking the fast in some schools of thought. Medically speaking too, if a person donates blood during the fasting period and gets dehydrated, it would be difficult to replace the fluids as could lead to breaking the fast. It is therefore advisable that the donation is made only after Iftar,” said Dr Menon.

Christine Harb, regional head of marketing - MENAP, Facebook, said, “As we prepared to celebrate Ramadan, we wanted to shed light on the reality of decreased blood donations this month in the region, while using Facebook as a tool to bring people together for a good cause.”