Residents donating blood at Dubai blood donation centre in Latifa hospital to mark the World Blood Donation Day. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News archives

Abu Dhabi: A dedicated expat who has donated blood nearly 50 times over the last two decades is encouraging UAE residents to help out blood banks across the country ahead of World Blood Donor Day on Sunday, June 14.

Badrudding Buhari, 48, an insurance officer from India, said he last donated blood about a week ago, and plans to continue doing so for as long as he can.

“It is a simple and easy way to help others in great need. I have been doing it for a long time, and this World Blood Donor Day, I would encourage others to get on board,” Buhari told Gulf News.

World Blood Donor Day is celebrated every year on June 14 to create awareness about the need for safe blood and blood products, and to thank blood donors for their contributions. This year, the occasion is even more relevant due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has hospitalised thousands of patients in the UAE.

NAT Badruddin Buhari2-1592032875623
Badruddin Buhari Image Credit: Supplied

Buhari said he started donating blood on the request of his brother-in-law, a former UAE resident.

“I just never stopped after that. I have donated up to four times a year, and it is a lovely feeling to know that my contribution is helping people in dire need,” he said.

In April, Abu Dhabi’s health regulator, the Department of Health (DoH), released a series of social media posts to encourage donations from residents.

“Donating blood saves lives. Each unit of blood can be separated into red blood cells, plasma, platelets, and cryoprecipitate. A single donation saves many lives!” read a DoH post.

Dr Naima Oumeziane, medical director at Abu Dhabi Blood Bank, operated by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) said stocks at the facility have dipped significantly due to the outbreak.

“The need for blood is always there but our stocks declined because people were afraid to visit the facility. Now, we are conducting drives to build up these stocks, and would like to use this occasion to encourage further contributions,” Dr Oumeziane urged.

The bank serves trauma centres, 12 public hospital and 25 public hospitals in Abu Dhabi.

“For the last two weeks, we’ve been able to collect 150 to 200 units every day, which is the amount we need on a daily basis. But because our stocks have been so depleted, donations are especially welcome right now,” she said.

The doctor said the blood bank has implemented all the necessary precautions to keep donors safe.

“We screen all donors, ensure social distancing and implement all government regulations. It is completely safe to help the community by donating blood,” she added.