635 blood donation campaigns were launched last year and that 11,118 blood units were distributed to private sector hospitals Image Credit: Getty

Dubai Health Authority’s Dubai Blood Donation Centre, which is part of the medical support services and nursing sector, received 63,735 blood donors in 2018, the director of the centre revealed.

Dubai Blood Donation Centre is the only blood donation centre in the emirate. It accounts for about 50 per cent of the total blood collected throughout the UAE.

Dr Mai Raouf, Director of Dubai Blood Donation Centre, said that 50,456 blood units and 1,117 pooled platelets were collected in 2018, while 4,741 platelets and 480 concentrated blood units were collected through the apheresis system.

Dr Raouf also revealed that 635 blood donation campaigns were launched last year and that 11,118 blood units were distributed to private sector hospitals.

“We at Dubai Blood Donation Centre are committed to providing a safe and adequate supply of blood to all DHA hospitals and private hospitals in the emirate 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.

There is a continuous demand for all blood types as blood lasts for only 42 days, so donors need to come forward to replenish stocks.

- Dr Mai Raouf, Director of Dubai Blood Donation Centre

Dr Raouf also revealed that 38 per cent of the blood collected was supplied to the Thalassaemia Centre, 16 per cent was supplied to Dubai Hospital, 14 per cent was supplied to Rashid Hospital, 8 per cent was supplied to Latifa Hospital, 3 per cent was supplied to Hatta Hospital and 21 per cent was supplied to private sector hospitals.

In 2017, Dubai Blood Donation Centre received 64,666 blood donators and collected 50,601 blood units and 5,828 blood platelets through 676 campaigns.

International Society of Blood Transfusion

Last year, Dubai Blood Donation Centre became affiliated with the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) in Amsterdam. Dr Raouf cited it as one of the centre’s major achievements in 2018.

The affiliation will enhance training and education of the staff working at the centre, which is in line with DHA’s strategy to ensure quality services by improving competencies in the health sector through continuous learning.

Gaining an affiliate membership will allow those working in the centre to learn about the latest international developments in blood transfusion. This enhances their technical and practical capabilities and ensures compliance with the latest international developments in blood transfusion.

Employees of ISBT affiliate members will get access to ISBT congress webcasts, ebooks, webinar recordings, guidelines and more through ISBT’s website.

Located in Amsterdam, ISBT is a non-profit organisation that was established in 1935 with the aim of bringing together the international community to advance knowledge and education in transfusion medicine and science. ISBT’s website is home to many published scientific papers on blood transfusion that can benefit researchers and those working in the field.

American Association of Blood Banks

Receiving an accreditation from the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) for the fourth year in a row was another major achievement for Dubai Blood Donation Centre. It’s a testimony to the high standard of services the centre provides, said Dr Raouf.

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

DHA received the accreditation following an evaluation, which assessed the blood donation procedures, preparation and examination of 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 Dubai Blood Donation Centre was 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 and private hospitals in Dubai to save the lives of patients who require blood transfusions using the latest technologies, smart services and best practices that aim to enhance the safety of blood transfusion.”

DAMMI app

Dubai Blood Donation Centre has also taken a number of steps to provide smart services to ease customers’ journey.

Among them is the DAMMI app, a smart innovation that makes it easier to find the time and place to make blood donations in Dubai.

Dr Raouf said the app allows blood donors to answer eligibility questionnaire for donation and read pre-donation educational material on their smartphones before they come to the donation centre.

“The app is in line with DHA’s vision to provide services to customers at a click of a button to support the authority’s vision of creating a happy and healthy society. Through this app the donors can also receive invitations for activities related to blood donation and get notification regarding donation campaigns.”

The application will allow the public to register their details so that they can be contacted during emergencies and disasters to donate blood. This will provide a wide database of blood donors.

“The app will help avoid human errors and will add an extra layer to transfusion safety,” she said.

DAMMI app is available on both Apple and Android devices.

Rare blood types

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

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

“There is continuous demand for all blood types as blood lasts for only 42 days, so donors always need to come forward to replenish these stocks,” said Dr Raouf. “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.”