UAE: Want to donate blood? Requirements, centres, post-donation care explained

Before donation, it is crucial to know the criteria to ensure a smooth sailing process

by

Laraib Anwer

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Published: Sat 6 Apr 2024, 1:12 PM

Last updated: Sat 6 Apr 2024, 11:59 PM

A highly encouraged practice in the UAE, donating blood has become quite easy for residents, with multiple hospitals, clinics and health authorities offering drives across the country.

On June 14, which marks World Donor Day, health authorities across the Emirates amp up efforts on spreading awareness about donating blood and giving residents more opportunities to do so. In Dubai, the Dubai Health Authority often conducts donation drives, while in many other instances, organisations conduct their own drives and campaigns, offered to customers as well as other residents.


Considered a noble act, donation not only saves lives of patients who might be suffering from blood-related diseases, but can also be a life saver in unprecedented situations like accidents and surgeries. Apart from helping others, it is beneficial to the donor as it reduces the possibility of having heart diseases and strokes. It also activates the bone marrow to produce new blood cells and help get rid of excess iron level.

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Before donation, it is crucial to know the requirements to ensure a smooth sailing process. It is equally important to take good care after the process to keep one's physical fitness in check. Here is a guide to donating blood in the UAE.

Requirements

Want to know if you fit the criteria for donating your blood? The Emirates Health Services has established certain requirements for donors. Although physicians conduct a mandatory health check-up prior to the donation, it's important for donors to be aware of these.

  • Individuals between the ages of 18-65 years can only give blood
  • The donor must not weigh below 50kg
  • Donors should be in good general health condition at the time of donation
  • The donor's blood pressure must be between 50/100 to 90/180 (mm Hg) range
  • The donor must have a normal body temperature of not more than 37.5°C
  • The donor's pulse rate must be between 50-100 pulses per minute
  • Donors are required to present their valid Emirates ID
  • Doctors advise pregnant and lactating women against donating blood for the sake of their baby and own health

Post donation care

As per the Dubai Health Authority, people can donate whole blood every 2 months, platelet apheresis every 2 weeks and double red cells every 4 months after meeting the required criteria. However, despite meeting these, it is crucial to take good care after the process.

Many donors might feel light headed and weak after donating blood. To make sure that they recover well in short time and don't experience any extreme side-effects, doctors advise donors to follow certain instructions.

  • Before leaving the clinic/hospital/facility, donors should eat and drink something healthy
  • After donating, donors must drink extra fluids and follow the same next day too
  • Smokers who have donated should not smoke for an hour after donation
  • Donors should leave their bandages on for 3-4 hours
  • For the next 24 hours after donating, donors must not engage in any strenuous activities or workout
  • In case the area starts bleeding, donors should raise their arm above their head and apply pressure to stop the bleeding
  • If a donor feels lightheaded or dizzy after donating, he/she must lie down until the feeling passes
  • For those who might donate frequently, upon the advice of a medical professional, it is encouraged to take iron supplements.
  • After donating, if any bruising takes place where the needle was inserted, donors can apply ice on the area for 15-20 minutes, three to four times a day, for the first day. The day after, they can do the same but with a cloth dipped in warm water.

When to visit a doctor?

In some cases, a donor or medical professional might not deem it fit for the blood to be donated. In such scenarios it is important for the donor to immediately contact their emirate's health authority or visit a doctor.

  • If one tests positive for Covid-19 or experiences any symptoms within five days of donating blood
  • If the donor doesn't want to donate their blood anymore
  • If the donor faints or gets an unusually large bruise after the donation
  • If the donor comes positive for hepatitis or HIV within the next 12 months

Centres across UAE

Apart from health authorities in particular emirates offering donation services, the Emirates Health Services has centres across different emirates that offer blood donation services.

Dubai: Kuwait Hospital Blood Bank

Dubai Health Authority's centre in Al Jaddaf also offers donation services.

Sharjah: Blood Transfusion and Research Centre, Dhaid Hospital Blood Bank, Khorfakkan Hospital Blood Bank, Kalba Hospital Blood Bank

Umm Al Quwain: Umm Al Quwain Hospital Blood Bank

Ras Al-Khaimah: Saqr Hospital Blood Bank

Fujairah: Fujairah hospital Blood Bank, Diba Al Fujairah Hospital Blood Bank

Abu Dhabi: Residents looking to donate in Abu Dhabi can contact the Abu Dhabi Health Services to find their nearest centre.

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