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Life-saving gifts of blood

12 June 2015 [13:35] - TODAY.AZ

/By AzerNews/

By Amina Nazarli

Every year on June 14, World Blood Donor Day is observed in 192 countries throughout the world. The initiative encourages people to donate their blood to help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions and help save millions of lives every year. Established in 2004, it has already garnered quite a bit of attention.

The theme of this year’s campaign, "Thank you for saving my life," recognizes and thanks those who have already donated, while encouraging potential donors to give blood voluntarily.

As a practice, blood donation in Azerbaijan began to develop in the 1920 and 30s. The Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society established the first blood transfusion oversight committee in Semashko Hospital in 1931. Three years later, the first blood transfusion station was unveiled at the hospital.

Azad Hajiyev, the coordinator of “For healthy lifestyle” program, told local media that Azerbaijan’s development has contributed to a rise in donations over the past several years. “Today those wishing to donate blood voluntarily have become much more,” he said.

According to Hajiyev, Azerbaijan has enough supply currently to meet demand. “Problems can arise only when there are no rare blood group donors.”

Some 376 blood donation campaigns were held in Azerbaijan in 2014. Parvana Hajiyeva, the chief physician at the Eyvazova Central Blood Bank Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, states 72,471 people took part in the blood drives. That figure represents a 10.7 percent increase in participants from the previous year.

Overall, last year participants donated a total of 36,080 liters of blood, up from 32,048 liters the previous year.

Every year, the Health Ministry conducts several blood donation drives to help people with hemophilia and thalassemia.

There are currently 1,550 registered hemophiliacs in the country, with roughly 55 percent under the age of 18.

The country also ranks fourth in the world in documented cases of thalassemia. Research shows that 8 percent of Azerbaijanis carry the thalassemia gene.

“Azerbaijan has a sufficient amount of donor blood,” said Zohra Alimirzayeva, the director of the Research Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion.

“Due to the fact that blood has a certain shelf life, the available reserves must be constantly replenished,” she noted.

According to the WHO, a total of 108 million blood donations are registered annually, under the World Blood Donor Day. Despite the massive effort, the WHO says that shortages are still a serious concern for developing countries.

Logistical support for World Blood Donor Day is provided by three major organizations working to increase voluntary blood donation around the world: the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations and International Society of Blood Transfusion.


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