Saving mothers starts with safe blood
Monday 16th June
For the majority of expectant mothers, the time when they get to hold their bundle of joy in their arms can’t come soon enough. However, for many pregnant women living in developing countries, pregnancy comes with a lingering threat.
The tragic reality is that according to the WHO almost 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications every single day, with one third of total global deaths occurring in just two countries – Nigeria and India. The most dangerous place for a woman to have a baby, however, is Sub-Saharan Africa, where the lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth jumps from the European average of 1 in 3300, to 1 in 40.
These haunting statistics speak for themselves, but why exactly is the mortality rate so high among pregnant women in these countries? Here are the most common reasons for pregnancy-related deaths:
- 28% pre-existing medical conditions exacerbated by pregnancy, like malaria and HIV
- 27% severe bleeding
- 14% pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
- 11% infections, mostly occurring after childbirth
- 9% obstructed labour and other direct causes
- 8% abortion complications
- 3% blood clots
The good news is that, fortunately, mortality due to severe bleeding is one of the most treatable complications. The dangerous anaemia brought on by haemorrhaging can be reversed with blood transfusions, but here lies the problem – we live in an age where there is a worrying lack of safe blood available for transfusions in developing countries. This is exactly why the focus of this year’s World Blood Donor Day is ‘Safe blood for saving mothers’, a campaign designed to raise awareness of the need for blood free from HIV, hepatitis and other infections that can be transmitted through transfusion. And the good news is: you can help!
By spreading the word among friends and family about both the importance of giving blood and the safe blood crisis in developing countries, you will have helped raise awareness of the issue.
Then there is the prospect of giving blood yourself, helping to boost our own country’s number of voluntary unpaid donors. It only takes around half an hour to donate a lifesaving amount, which can in turn benefit several patients. You see, by separating blood into its different components patients will receive exactly what they need, leaving the remaining components free to go to whoever needs them. With so many benefits to be had from just one small donation of blood, isn’t it worth supporting World Blood Donor Day by giving some yourself?
The WHO have 2020 as the target year for all countries to obtain 100% of their blood supplies from voluntary unpaid donors, so why not help boost that number today by donating blood for World Blood Donor Day? You could help to save more than one life, and raise the awareness necessary to help the World Health Organisation stop women suffering for something as special as bringing new life into the world.
Source for statistics: