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Volunteer hours for blood donors will be calculated based on the type of blood donation. Two hours will be credited for general blood donation, and three hours for donating platelets Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Blood donors in Abu Dhabi can now donate blood to collect volunteer credit hours on the UAE Volunteer Platform.

The programme, launched by Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Services in cooperation with the UAE Volunteer Platform, aims to encourage community members to donate blood, and attract young adults to participate in the beneficial practice. The Volunteer Platform will also announce opportunities and volunteer campaigns, and provide blood donors with accredited volunteer hours and certificates, the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Services said in a statement on Thursday.

Volunteer hours for blood donors will be calculated based on the type of blood donation. Two hours will be credited for general blood donation, and three hours for donating platelets. University students can also benefit from this programme to complete the volunteer requirements necessary for graduating.

“Blood donation and ensuring the availability of blood units represent a strategic importance for any healthcare ecosystem around the world, in order to sustain the efficiency of healthcare services. At the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH), we are keen to achieve a balance between the supply of blood donation and its demand within the emirate. This stems from our responsibility towards the health and safety of all community members, as well as our commitment to ensuring the emirate’s readiness in accordance with best international practices and standards in responding to health emergencies. Our continuous work and efforts with our partners within the healthcare sector seek to raise awareness of blood donation as a noble act that contributes to saving the lives of countless people around us,” said Dr Saleh Al Ali, executive director of the centre of emergency preparedness and response at DoH. The Abu Dhabi health regulator oversees blood bank services in the emirate, which are run under the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Services umbrella by public health provider, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha).

“The UAE Volunteer Platform will greatly serve the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Services, as we always strive to develop our programmes and projects to keep pace with developments that help us in securing blood in regular quantities to save the lives of patients. We stress on the importance of how donating blood can make a difference, as by doing so you are giving other people another chance to live. The UAE Volunteer Platform assists us in achieving that, through the attraction of voluntary blood donors,” added Dr Huda Khalfan Al Shamsi, director at Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Services.

The UAE Volunteer Platform, the first smart platform of its kind and the largest in the country, serves as a comprehensive and interactive platform for developing and organising volunteer efforts in the country. The platform aims to expand the scope of volunteer work in the UAE by facilitating the volunteering process, and enabling volunteers to register for blood donation campaigns. Once the volunteer is registered on the platform, they will be able to register for volunteering opportunities to donate blood and once the blood donation is complete, the volunteer hours are accredited. The platform provides its users with complete details including location, time and date, as volunteers can register to donate blood by visiting the UAE Volunteer platform.

The programme aims to promote the concept of social responsibility, and reinforce the values of helping others as a main pillar of social cohesion. Blood donation is a noble and humanitarian voluntary act that ensures blood supplies are available for patients in need, ultimately contributing to the preservation of lives.

The Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Services is one of the DoH’s strategic services, and aims to advance the health and safety of all members of the community.

According to data gathered by Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Services, more than 53,900 people have donated blood in the emirate in 2022 alone. Over the past five years, there have been a total of 247,801 donors in Abu Dhabi.

In a statement, the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Services highlighted the benefits of donating blood. Donors can discover health concerns early, and benefit from reducing iron levels in blood. Donating blood also stimulates the body to produce blood cells, and reduces the risk of heart disease, liver disease, and cancer. It can also help reduce cholesterol levels.

Donated blood units can be lifesaving for many groups of people, including road accident victims, fire victims, anaemia patients, patients with blood diseases like thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia, women with pregnancy complications, women in childbirth, patients with bleeding disorders like haemophilia, patients undergoing surgery, cancer patients, and patients undergoing organ and neonatal transplants.