Hiyam Saeed Alqam and Maryam Mohammed Taha Makki, donating blood, during the launch of the first DHA Mobile blood donation bus at Rashid Hospital Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: The Dubai Blood Donation Centre (DBDC) will have additional working hours from 8pm to 1am during Ramadan for those who plan to donate blood after iftar. During the day, the centre will remain open from 9am to 2pm.

Meanwhile, contrary to popular belief, individuals observing a fast can easily donate blood after iftar during Ramadan. “People who are fasting can donate blood once they have broken their fast and replenished their bodies with nutrition and water,” said Dr Laila Al Shaer, head of DBDC, on the occasion of the World Health Organisation’s World Blood Donor Day being observed on June 14.

World Blood Donor Day falls at a crucial time every year, when blood centres face what is known as “summer shortages”, as fewer people donate blood due to vacation schedules. Around 108 million units of donated blood are collected globally every year. According to global statistics, nearly 50 per cent of these blood donations are collected in high-income countries, home to less than 20 per cent of the world’s population. The median blood donation rate in high-income countries is 36.8 donations per 1,000 population. This compares with 11.7 donations in middle-income countries and 3.9 donations in low-income countries.

In Dubai, the DBDC supplies blood to all government and some private hospitals in Dubai and the northern emirates. The WHO stipulates that approximately about two per cent of the population in every city must be a donor to fulfil the demand for blood and Dubai has managed to get 1.98 per cent of the population to donate blood regularly, according to Dr Laila.

“We meet demands for blood well, however, we require about 200 donors donating anything between 300-to 500 units of blood where each unit is about 450cc to meet our stock requirements. But this number falls during summer and the fasting period and that is why we want people to come in large numbers and donate blood voluntarily,” she added.

This year WHO is observing a theme for the day titled ‘Thank you for saving my life’, which is meant to express gratitude to all the people who do this thoughtful selfless act for the community which can save precious lives, especially in the case of thalassaemia and other blood disorders that require regular transfusions, cancer patients who need blood transfusion after chemotherapy and road trauma patients who suffer blood loss.

According to statistics, one out of every four people entering a hospital needs blood. For complex surgical procedures like car accidents, a patient may require up to 45 litres of blood, which is equal to the total blood in 8-10 adults.

Blood donation drives have begun taking place, with Oman Insurance leading with an initiative outside its Deira headquarters yesterday (June 9). More such drives are happening around the city beginning this week right up to June 14 in a run-up to observe World Blood Donation Day.

You can donate blood at the following places:

June 10: Blood donation drive organised outside Oasis Mall from 4pm to 8pm by 3M Nexcare in a specially equipped medical van

June 14–June 16: Another blood donation drive organised by 3M Nexcare at Al Baraha Hospital from 8am to 8pm