On Monday, the eve of World Blood Donor Day, Kohinoor Hospital in Kurla made an attempt to increase awareness about blood donation and clear misconceptions about the same among the Muslim community through a seminar held at the hospital. The reason for holding this seminar was the observation that while the learned Muslims and clerics, who have a thorough knowledge of Islam know that blood donation in case of emergency is not prohibited, the common man is still unaware of this fact and hence keeps a distance from blood donation.
“Our hospital is in a predominantly Muslim locality and we come across several Muslim patients. Whenever there is a need for blood donation, the patient’s family and friends just stare at each other with not much willingness to come forward and donate blood. This apprehension to give blood has to be removed,” explained Dr. Ravindra Sawant, Head of Department, Laboratory Medicine, Kohinoor Hospital.
The reason why the Muslim community shies away from blood donation is due to lack of awareness in both religious as well as medical aspects. Elaborating on the religious aspect, Dr. Malih Siddiqui, a consultant physician with the hospital, said, “People generally know that blood donation is prohibited in Shariat, but they do not know that in times of emergency it is allowed and necessity makes the prohibited lawful. The Quran says that ‘we have honoured the sons of Adam’ so every body part is sacred and, therefore, no part can be taken out for benefits or be sold for profit or be mutilated. Also, anything that flows out of the body is impure and cannot be used for one’s benefit. But, all this is allowed if there is a dire need. Moreover, during a blood donation, there is just an injection and no tissue damage. If blood donation is done to restore life, it is a noble deed and is definitely allowed.”
Quoting some strong examples, Dr. Siddiqui added, “Consumption of pork and alcohol is strictly prohibited in Islam. But, if a man is dying of starvation or thirst and has no other option but to consume pork or alcohol for survival, he can do it in a quantity that will help him keep his body and soul together.”
Dr. Siddiqui further said, “Shariat allows collection and preservation of blood purely for restoration of life, but selling blood like professional blood donors is completely prohibited. It should be a conscious decision, without any pressure and with the sole intention of saving a life.”
A real life case study was shared with the ADC by Dr. Sawant, where two months ago, a six-month old baby girl who was posted for surgery at a BMC-run hospital in the city needed blood and her own parents refused to donate blood. This reflected that while every community has its own apprehension about blood donation, there is more fear in the Muslim community and Dr. Sawant seconded this observation. “The baby’s parents were ready to pay money and get the blood from else where, but were not willing to donate blood. In fact, the mother was dissuading the father from giving blood because she felt that this would lead to weakness for him,” said Dr. Sawant.
“They were a lower middle class family, but educated enough to know about the importance of blood donation. Education has no relevance here because the belief is etched very strongly,” continued Dr. Sawant.
According to Dr. Siddiqui, the awareness level among the younger, secularly educated generation is better. While the religious aspect was dealt with by Dr. Siddiqui, Dr. Sawant cleared the doubts in people’s minds with regards to the medical aspect.
Addressing the most common fear of becoming weak after blood donation, Dr. Sawant said, “Blood donation does good to one’s body. For instance, it keeps the cholesterol levels in check. It in no way hampers one’s health. It doesn’t lead to weakness, a reduction in blood level in the body forever or impotency.”
While the doctors did their bit, the presence of the clerics at the seminar had its own importance because they are the ones who are going to be the messengers spreading awareness among the common masses.
Mohammed Zakarya, a learned cleric from a madrassa at Kurla (west) said, “We know that when need arises even the prohibited becomes unprohibited and we will definitely spread the message across to people. All our doubts about blood donation have been cleared. Yes, there has to be more awareness about blood donation among the common people in our community and we will surely do the needful.”
Facts revealed by doctors during the seminar
Some criteria for blood donation
- One can give 450ml of blood at a time and can save three lives
- Every two seconds someone needs blood in India
- According to predictions by hospitals, there is going to a five per cent increase in the need for blood every year
- Only four per cent of the population eligible for blood donation donates blood
- Seventy five per cent of the eligible population donates blood only once
Statistics about blood donation from the State Blood Transfusion Council
- Age: 18 to 60
- Weight has to be more than 45 kgs
- Haemoglobin has to be more than 12.5
- Overall in good health
- Women cannot donate blood if they are pregnant, breast feeding and during their menses
- Men cannot donate blood for 24 hours after alcohol consumption
Mobile blood banking
- The total number of voluntary blood donation camps rose three folds to 16,487 in 2010 as compared to just 6,140 in 2000
- The percentage of voluntary blood donors in the state rose by a large proportion to 85.7 pc in 2010 from just 54 pc in 2000
- The total number of blood collected doubled to 12.65 lakh unit per year in 2010 from 6.66 lakh unit per year in 2000
Mumbai District Aids Control Society (MDACS) will today launch their month long campaign ‘World Blood Donor Month’ with a specialised mobile blood bank (van). The van will go around the city creating awareness about blood donation and will also collect blood from donors. The collected blood will then be sent to the 20 MDACS blood banks in the city. The target of collection is 60 to 80 units per day.