Posted on September 10, 2017

More than 180,000 people have been registered as donors at the Blood Donor Center of the Hamad Medical Corporation, said Dr Zeyd Merenkov, Senior Consultant and Division Head, Transfusion Medicine, HMC. This includes 15 percent Qatari donors and donors from over 100 countries and regions.

Qatar is 100 percent blood sufficient and uses only volunteers to provide the entire country’s needs. Donors are handled both at the central HMC campus, Blood Donor Center, and at various off-site campaigns throughout Qatar. “Blood donation helps save many lives here in Qatar every year and there is always demand for blood and blood products. We are so proud that blood is donated in Qatar by individuals voluntarily. This blood donation gives patients with life-threatening diseases who are in need of a blood transfusion a chance to live longer and improve the quality of their lives,” said Dr Merenkov.

Qatar meets the regulatory requirements of the Council of Europe and the International American Association of Blood Banks. “During blood donation, experts check if it’s safe for the donor and the recipient. At least 50 to 60 questions are asked including about the medical history, medications, and travel history,” said Dr Merenkov. The donor needs to be in good health and feel well on the day of the donation, cannot have any chronic diseases of the heart, lungs or circulatory system, need to be at least 18 years old, and weigh at least 50 kilograms, have a hemoglobin level of at least 12.5 grams/deciliter, blood pressure systolic between 100 and 180, diastolic 60 to 100 torr and regular pulse between 60 and 100, and an oral temperature less than or equal to 37.5C. He/she should also have eaten/drunk something during the previous four hours prior to donation.

The donor must inform the medical staff if the donor is taking any medication. During a blood donation approximately 450 ml of whole blood of 450 ml is collected or platelets, plasma, and/or red cells are collected on a donor apheresis machine (Trima Accel) “We also collect specimens to determine the donor’s blood type and test for exposure to infectious agents such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV 1/2, HTLV 1/2, Syphilis, and Malaria,” said Dr Merenkov. Whole blood is then separated by automated processing system (Terumo BCT Reveos) into packed red cells, buffy-coat platelets, and plasma. Concurrently, specimens for the donor are tested for the infectious markers. if all production criteria are met, then the final blood components are labelled using International Society of Blood Transfusion designated labels and released to the hospitals.

Qatar was the first in the region to combine automated blood component processing with pathogen inactivation. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is added to plasma and platelets and then the component is exposed to ultraviolet light. Bacteria, viruses, and protozoa (e.g. malaria) are inactivated by this treatment. Futhermore, Qatar collects its platelet in additive solution to improve the quality of the final product. During the process the initial screening, blood extraction and then observation of the donor for anybody reactions due to the blood donation will take around 45 minutes for whole blood and up to 90 minutes if giving plasma or platelets using an apheresis machine.

People interested to become a blood donor can call on 44391081 to check the eligibility.

source: The Peninsula