Dubai Health Authority Blood Donation
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Be the Hero… Save Lives blood donation campaign aims to encourage the Dubai community to donate blood and raise awareness about the importance of donating blood.

The campaign was launched in light of World Blood Donor Day, which falls on June 14 of every year.

Dr Mai Raouf, the Director of the Dubai Blood Donation Centre, which falls under Pathology & Genetics Dept., Clinical Support Services and Nursing Sector, said that those donors will greatly contribute to the centre’s blood supply, as the centre collects around 50 per cent of the total blood collected throughout the country. She said that this ensures those in need in both public and private hospitals have access to safe and timely supplies of blood. She also stressed the importance of attracting blood donors as in the UAE 100 per cent of the blood is donated by donors without any monetary compensation.

Dr Raouf also revealed that the DHA was one of the seven internationally recognised organisations to receive recognition from UNIVANTS in 2019.

“We received the recognition for increasing the population’s engagement, enhancing patient experience and safe blood donations through strategic partnerships and targeted media campaigns, reducing the supply gap by 9.5 per cent as we organised 734 blood donation campaigns and received around 65,000 blood donors during 2018 alone.”

There is a continuous demand for all blood types as blood lasts for only 42 days and so donors are always needed to come forward to replenish stocks.

- Dr Mai Raouf, Director of the Dubai Blood Donation Centre

The centre also adopted a membership card system that aims to encourage blood donation. Those who donate blood from one to 10 times get a blue card, those who donate blood up to 11-20 times get a silver card, those who donate blood 21- 30 times get a gold card, next comes the platinum cards, which is given to those 31- 40 donations and the white card with 41 -60 donations and above. The platinum and white cards are considered as VIP and are given fast track service during donation .

In 2018, the centre received 63,735 blood donors, collected 50,456 blood units, 4,741 platelets apheresis and 1,117 pooled platelets. In addition to organising 676 outdoor campaigns for blood donations. “We at the Dubai blood Donation Centre are committed to providing a safe and adequate supply of blood to all DHA hospitals and private hospitals in Dubai, to save the lives of patients who require blood transfusions by ensuring that the services we provide are up to internationals standards,” said Dr Raouf.

Dr Raouf also revealed that 38 per cent of the blood collected was supplied to the Thalassemia Centre, 16 per cent was supplied to Dubai Hospital, 14 per cent was supplied to Rashid Hospital, eight per cent was supplied to Latifa Hospital, three per cent was supplied to Hatta Hospital and 21 per cent was supplied to private sector hospitals.

International Society of Blood Transfusion

Dr Raouf revealed that the Dubai Blood Donation Centre also became affiliated with the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) in Amsterdam last year. This will enhance the training and education of the staff working at the centre, which is in line with the DHA’s strategy to ensure quality services by enhancing competencies in the health sector through continuous training. Those working in the centre can learn about the latest international developments in blood transfusion. ISBT affiliate members will give employees working at the centre access to ISBT congress webcasts, eBooks, webinar recordings, guidelines and more through ISBT’s website.

ISBT, which is located in Amsterdam, is a non-profit organisation that was established in 1935 to bring together the international community to advance knowledge and education in transfusion medicine and science. ISBT’s website features many papers published on blood transfusion that can benefit researchers and those working in the field.

American Association of Blood Banks

Talking about the centre’s other 2018 achievements, Dr Raouf said that earlier this year, the Dubai Blood Donation Centre received an accreditation from the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) for the fourth year in a row, which is a testimony to the elevated services provided by the centre.

“The accreditation confirmed that the level of medical, technical and administrative services provided by the centre are at par with the international standards and requirements of the association,” said Dr Raouf.

The DHA received the accreditation following an evaluation, which assessed the blood donation procedures, blood preparation and examination, blood registration, document control and management, testing, training laboratory technicians, identifying and tracking samples, and checking blood units before being distributed to hospitals.

Dr Raouf revealed that centre is the first in the country to receive the AABB accreditation in 2012. “The centre is committed to providing a safe and adequate supply of blood to all DHA hospitals and private hospitals in Dubai, using the latest technologies, smart services and the best practices that aim to enhance the safety of blood transfusion,” she added.

DHA app

The DHA flagship app has a segment with details on blood donation. The app allows blood donors to answer donation eligibility questionnaires and read pre-donation educational material through their mobile phones before they come to the donation centre. “This feature is in line with DHA’s vision to provide services to customers at the click of a button to support the authority’s vision of fulfilling a happy and healthy society. Through this, the donors can also receive invitations for activities related to blood donation and get notifications regarding donation campaigns.”

The application will allow the public to register their details to be contacted during emergencies and disasters to donate blood. This will provide a wide database of blood donors. And till date, 2,500 people have registered to donate during emergencies and crises. “The app will add an extra layer to transfusion safety,” she said.

The app is available on both apple and android phones.

Rare blood types

While all blood types are needed, Dr Raouf said that negative blood types are in greater demand due to their rarity.

She said that only 0.6 per cent of the UAE population are AB negative, 1.8 per cent are B negative, 2.4 per cent are A negative and 4 per cent are O negative.

Meanwhile, positive blood types are the most common blood type and is found in 38.6 per cent of the population.

“There is a continuous demand for all blood types as blood lasts for only 42 days and so donors are always needed to come forward to replenish stocks. People can donate blood every eight weeks, with each donation potentially saving up to three lives. Platelets, which can be donated up to 24 times a year, are also important to help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or those recovering from surgery and suffer from blood loss.”

Dubai Blood Donation Centre timings

Dubai Blood Donation Centre is open from Sunday to Thursday: 7.30am to 7pm for blood donation and 7.30am to 1pm for apheresis donation.