by Sr. Prisca Ovat MMM Kenya 18.06.2022
As a postulant of the Medical Missionaries of Mary, I first grasped the concept of lifesaving from the moment I was needed for blood donation to a dying mother of a set of twins. I thought of myself as a heroine until I realized that it was nothing extraordinary as two others also donated at the same time.
But something incomprehensible happened then. A young American doctor volunteered at the time when someone needed a few pints of blood to live on. From the very charity and compassion of her being, the doctor donated blood this the purpose it was needed. What happened next shocked everyone. The recipient vehemently declined this transfusion, on the basis of, “A white’s blood cannot properly mix with a black’s blood”. “What is the difference?”, many of us asked. Although, medically stating, there are some unique protein structures of the red blood particular to certain races, but this has no effect on donors and recipients provided there is blood compatibility.
As a health worker in areas where religion cannot be compromised, blood donation often possess the greatest challenge when life has to be saved. This is the case of worshippers of the Jehovah Witness. As their faith teaches, no one must seek to sustain their life by another’s blood and accepting blood transfusion is tantamount to drinking blood-according to research. How a dying patient is saved after declining a transfusion decline will not be discussed here within this topic.
In this month of June, which celebrates World Blood Donor Day, the World Health Organization raises a global awareness which highlights the critical contribution of voluntary unpaid blood and blood product donors. For them, several women suffering from bleeding associated with childbirth, severely anemic children, person with blood disorders, victims of trauma and others have been effectively managed. Thanks to everyone who has ever been privileged to donate blood. Many others would but for their health status.
We reiterate the 2022 slogan as thus: “donating blood is an act of solidarity, join the effort and save lives”.