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Home > Lifestyle News > Health And Fitness News > Article > This awareness campaign is urging Indias youth to donate blood using a unique approach

This awareness campaign is urging India’s youth to donate blood using a unique approach

Updated on: 29 November,2023 06:16 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

India has an eligible donor population of 402 million, yet it falls short of meeting the WHO’s minimum recommendation of 1 per cent of the population donating blood

This awareness campaign is urging India’s youth to donate blood using a unique approach

Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

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This awareness campaign is urging India’s youth to donate blood using a unique approach

While India has progressed considerably, there is still a gap in the country’s requirement of blood supply. As per current statistics, India requires an annual average of 14.6 million blood units, but there is a consistent shortfall of roughly one million units annually . Addressing this, global healthcare leader Abbott has extended its worldwide donor recruitment campaign, ‘BETHE1,’ and launched the first-ever donor campaign song, ‘Give Blood. Get Good Vibes.’ This song aims to inspire Indian youth to donate blood, making blood donation a contemporary, compelling approach to building a healthier India. The vocals are by Tamojit Chatterjee, aka MC Headshot, an Indian hip-hop artist, rapper, lyricist, and stage performer. 

Talking about this initiative, MC Headshot said, “I am proud to be a part of this campaign as it aims to help address a very real-life challenge. I hope that all the young people out there will become aware that they can make a difference. If you are healthy and able to donate, I urge you to do so and help save lives”. 

The campaign supplements prior on-ground efforts to promote blood donation. The company launched the campaign in major cities across India, including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kochi, Nagpur, Vizag, Guwahati, Nagpur, and Nashik, with digital and physical assets, mobile donation vans, and more. These sites record approximately 300,000 annual donations, with an encouraging rise in donations by over 20 per cent this year.

India's demand-supply gap: A blood donation deficit 
India has an eligible donor population of 402 million, yet it falls short of meeting the WHO’s minimum recommendation of 1 per cent of the population donating blood.  The country’s blood supply in 2022 was estimated at 33.8 per thousand donations, against the demand of 36.3 per thousand. 

Dr Rajesh B Sawant, Consultant - Transfusion Medicine, Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Institute, Mumbai, said, “One donation can save up to three lives, and the process to donate blood typically only takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Addressing India’s blood deficit is essential to help avoid delays in critical blood transfusions for people in need. This can be done by raising awareness and tackling myths around blood donation, especially as there is a constant need for blood supply, not just for emergencies, but also for planned surgeries and long-term medical treatments.”

Voluntary blood donations are especially low in certain groups. While India has one of the youngest populations in the world, 85.5 per cent of Indian youth (aged 18-25 years) reported that they had never donated blood. Further, only 10 to 12 per cent of women are blood donors. The reasons include low awareness, misconception that blood donation could endanger their health, lack of clarity about the process, and inaccessibility to blood donation sites.

Blood donation – a powerful, life-saving activity – is key to treating women with complications during pregnancy and childbirth (like postpartum haemorrhage), and children with severe anaemia, and supporting accident victims and surgical and cancer patients. In addition to this, regular blood donation also plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy iron levels in the body and stimulating the production of new blood cells. This selfless act not only saves lives but also offers advantages for the donor, including a reduced risk of cancer, lower blood pressure, improved mental state, a healthy liver, and improved plasma lipid profiles. It is a simple way to make a difference in someone’s life and receive gratitude in return.

Addressing the blood shortage
Abbott’s global program BETHE1™ and ‘Give Blood. Get Back’ campaign has made a significant impact around the world in countries such as the United States, and Ethiopia. In Europe, the campaign has reached potential donors in more than a half dozen countries including Germany, Italy and Greece. In India, Abbott aims to reach people under-represented in blood donor numbers, like the youth, through creative formats to drive positive behaviour change. 

Dr Sonu Bhatnagar, Area Medical Director for Abbott’s transfusion medicine division said, “We believe that donating blood puts the power of saving lives and better health into the hands of everyone. Aligned with the government’s goals to raise awareness about the benefits of voluntary donation, our ‘Give Blood. Get Good Vibes’ song aims to inspire youth by making blood donation cool and putting it on top-of-their mind.” 

The song can be heard on YouTube at Give Blood Get Good Vibes. You can learn more about blood donation and become a donor by finding a center near you. 

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