In my Cricket cartoons blog, which is couple of years old now, I have a small badge of IndianBloodDonors.com on Top Right . The badge is of Indian Blood Donors site run by an individual, who unfortunately lost his mother to massive blood loss a decade ago. Feeling, how absence of donated blood can make a difference between Life and Death, the service class person started the service IndianBloodDonors.com. The service which displays blood requirements at any moment in various Indian cities; connects the needy to the selfless blood donors (noting is paid for the donation). The badge is on my site since 2007, and will be there till the blog lasts. This is my small way of acknowledging the great work.
India is still in deficit when it comes to Blood requirement and the Blood availability.According to TOI, while the overall number of blood donors in India has grown over the years (blood donors from 3.6 million in 2007 to 4.6 million in 2008), women constitute only a tiny 10 per cent share. This means that for every 10 Blood Donors, Only One is Woman.
Why Women in India not donating Blood?
That too, when female gender constitutes half of the entire population; and when, as per WHO’s recent data, India faces a whopping 30-35 per cent blood deficit annually — The country needs around 8 to 10 million units of blood every year but manages a measly 5.5 million units!
The reason is Poor health among Women India. Poor health reduces women blood donors in India.
Women in India are perpetually having health problems like pernicious anaemia (a condition in which the body can’t create enough healthy red blood cells) and low haemoglobin levels or being underweight. For any person between 18-60 years, the body weight must be 45 kg and above, person to be eligible for blood donation. On the Hemoglobin front the donor must have a Hemoglobin of 12 or 12 mdg Hemoglobin. Most women fail to make the mark.
Thus, it’s not that women in India don’t volunteer to donate blood. They do. But owing to poor health they become ineligible to donate the blood. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Database on Blood Safety (GDBS) 2011, 90 per cent of blood donors in India were men and only 10 per cent were women. That apart, among those women arriving at blood banks in India, less than seven percent are eligible for blood donation.
WHO’s another sees the women share as too less compared to other countries. Data shows that women make for more than 40 per cent of blood donors in 25 countries, among them Australia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Moldova, Mongolia, New Zealand, Portugal, Swaziland, Thailand, the US and Zimbabwe. Although high women blood donor share, also points to reluctance of men to donate blood for strength reasons in paternalistic countries; but still one can say that high women blood donors points to better Women health.
Why Women in India have poor Health?
According to experts in Health sector, low hemoglobin, under-weight and pernicious anemia are not prevalent among poor households only. These health issues are with women in middle and Upper middle class households in India as well. Even school girls in India, who volunteer for blood donation, are found to have less than 12 Hb and underweight. Only 25 percent school girls are found eligible for blood donation.
The reasons for poor health of women in India, with respect to ability to donate blood are as under:
1) Blood loss during menstruation. According to doctors, menstruating women lose about 80 ml of blood every month. Those having Heavy blood loss makes them ineligible for blood donation. Otherwise, a woman can donate blood during normal menstruation. [Volume of Blood in Humans : Around 5 Litres or 5000 ml]
2) Not paying attention to Girls Health: In India families normally don’t pay adequate or good care of irls Health. They are not provided nutritious diet, compared to Boys. Thes Girls grow into adults, with notions like “Only Boys drink Milk”, “Boys need more nourishment” etc. and as a consequence themselves become shoddy mothers.
The low share of women blood donors in India is also due to certain myths in society about blood donation. Although this accounts for a smaller percentage.
Blood can make a change between life and death. In ideal scenario, there must be surplus blood in blood banks. To address the current huge deficit, women, who constitute half of the population must have to contribute. For that we will need Healthy Girls, who turn out to become Healthy Women.