quotes Blood - The donation we need this Ramadan

27 April 2022
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Updated 27 April 2022

Blood - The donation we need this Ramadan

In the month of Ramadan, Muslims across the Kingdom seek out ways to grow spiritually by way of worship and benevolent acts. Although distributing food to the needy and almsgiving are highly virtuous acts, one righteous deed often goes overlooked: Blood donation.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, blood donations worldwide have been at an all-time low. Fear of infectious exposure has driven donors away from public spaces, especially medical facilities. Although the transmission of the virus is largely under control, the resulting blood crisis has not yet subsided.

Blood donations are already prone to drop by 20-30 percent during Ramadan, but the existing pandemic-related shortage further compounds matters.

This significant decline in blood donations is an impediment to swift medical care and can prove fatal in extreme cases. Victims of severe trauma such as car-accident passengers, patients who experience complications in surgery such as mothers undergoing childbirth, and people with lifelong medical conditions such as anemia, cancer and blood disorders, are all heavily reliant on regular voluntary blood donations.

The need for blood is constant, and the national blood supply must be regularly replenished to meet day-to-day patient needs and to cope with emergencies. A single unit of donated blood can be used to save at least three lives.

Donating blood in the Kingdom has never been easier. The Wateen app, sponsored by the Ministry of Health, helps locate the nearest blood bank to you, keeps track of the places and the number of times you have donated blood. Wateen’s highly personalized interface also connects you to medical facilities in your city that are in need of your blood type to ensure all patients are cared for and accounted for.

To accommodate the preferences of donors who observe fasts during Ramadan, hospitals, clinics and donation centers throughout the Kingdom have extended operating periods throughout the night.

You may donate blood every two to three months to allow your body to restore its iron and platelet stock. To be eligible for blood donation in the Kingdom you must: Be in the eligible age group (17-65 years); weigh at least 50 kg; be in good health; have no infectious diseases; have a hemoglobin level above 12 grams/dL (female) and 13 grams/dL (male).

If you are healthy and do not suffer from any underlying medical conditions, you may safely donate blood during Ramadan.

However, you may experience dizziness or weakness after donating so to ensure the rest of your fasting period passes with ease, the recommended time for donating is post-iftar.

Donating blood during the month of fasting is safe and rewarding in a religious context.

A study conducted by King Saud University College of Medicine showed 91 percent of residents in Saudi Arabia agreed that blood donation was a religious obligation. In most Islamic schools of thought, donating blood does not negatively affect the integrity of your fast. In fact, donating blood is seen as a form of sadaqah (voluntary charity), which reaps significant religious rewards — even more so in this holy month.

“Whoever saves a life is as though he had saved all mankind.” Qur’an 7:189.

Donating blood comes with minimal risk but significant reward, both medically and spiritually.

Blood donation does not simply help one person but contributes to a responsible gesture toward society. With our consolidating efforts, we can get ahead of this blood shortage and allow everyone the opportunity to live a healthier, longer life.

Sarah Haque is a medical student who conducts public health research and awareness campaigns.