Norma Candelaria López Santiago, an academic of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Medicine Department, said that despite society becoming more aware to the importance and necessity of blood donation, it is still an uncommon practice in Mexico.
In honor of World Blood Donor Day 2016, López Santiago said that this selfless practice saves lives, because some of the main problems of many patients are hemorrhages, lack of nutrients or diseases which compromise blood production, such as leukemia or other forms of cancer.
Blood transfusions save millions of lives each year, increasing the hope and quality of life of individuals with life-threatening conditions and allowing medical and surgical procedures, she added.
In the past, hemorrhages and other conditions meant death to patients. But now, thanks to blood donors, it is possible to avoid deaths and administer specific treatments to attack the causes of blood loss.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that the demand for blood is higher than the supply in many countries and that health services have trouble finding safe and high-quality blood.
There are only 62 countries in which the blood supply is almost all made up by voluntary non-lucrative donations, while in 40 other countries, it comes from family members or people who are paid, such is the case in Mexico.
López Santiago said that 60 to 70 percent of people in intensive care need one or more blood transfusions at some point in their hospitalization.
Blood donors must be healthy, between the ages of 18 and 60, weigh over 50 kilos, not have taken medication a week prior and not have diseases like diabetes.
In addition, they are tested for anemia, HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Brucella and other infections, said López Santiago.