June 17, 2023
In Ukraine, the act of donating blood is of vital importance, especially now. As the war with Russia continues to wreak havoc, the demand for blood transfusions has increased exponentially. Ukraine’s healthcare infrastructure is stretched thin, and the supply of blood is under constant strain. At this critical time, the act of donating blood takes on an even greater significance. It becomes a lifeline for those in desperate need, providing them with a chance of survival.
In this article, we delve into the first-hand experience of Sue Dymond, one of our dedicated volunteers from Scotland, who has been involved in the blood donation process in Lviv.
Why Did You Decide to Donate Blood in Ukraine?
“One of the things I wanted to do when I came out as a volunteer was donate blood. It's one of the surest ways of saving a life. As a regular donor back home in Scotland, I know the routine and how vital blood is to a health service,” says Sue.
What Advice Can You Give to Volunteers who are Willing to Donate Blood in Ukraine?
“If you can, donate in your own country before travelling out and donating in Ukraine, so you know approximately what to expect. This will also mean you can obtain a donor card or certificate. This will help provide assurance to the Ukrainian blood transfusion service. Another volunteer also noted that the Ukrainian blood transfusion service prefers donors who are not first time donors.”
What are the Requirements for Donating Blood?
As not everyone is eligible to donate blood or blood components due to medical issues, it is important to check whether donating blood is safe for you and potential recipients.
“You should allow at least 12 weeks between donations.
As a regular donor, I have a donor card. I brought this with me to help with the communication. Typically, the frequency of donating is every 3 to 4 months, with an option to provide emergency donations for incidents. Every time I donate, I am asked to complete a questionnaire that details risk factors and fitness to donate.
I have added the SNBTS questionnaire and background information for your own awareness as these are universal issues, and to help you self-assess risk factors for you and any recipients. Unless you are fluent, then communicating with medics may be limited.
The SNBTS web page details all the issues, from travelling and disease exposure to pregnancy and dentistry. Please read through this completely especially if you have not donated before. https://www.scotblood.co.uk/giving-blood/can-i-give-blood/”
Where to Donate Blood in Ukraine?
Sue donates blood at the Lviv Regional Blood Services Centre; https://maps.app.goo.gl/JRvQ4WWRJxYgQ9bp9… Opening times are listed in the Google Maps entry.
If you are located in a city other than Lviv, you can find a suitable blood donation centre at: : donor.ua/centers
What is the Procedure for Donating Blood in Ukraine ?
“First of all, before donating blood, make sure you are well hydrated, and it helps to do some moderate exercise (brisk walking).
The procedure is the following: you turn up at the donation centre with your passport and your blood donation card or certificate. Present yourself and documents to the receptionist.
You will be directed to a medic for a finger tip prick to check iron levels.
I was asked if I had any diseases, etc. Being aware of the pre-donation checks in the questionnaire is important. The test for iron levels is an instant result. That's the pre-donation checks.
Donation is straightforward. The medics will ask which arm you wish to give from, place an airband around your upper arm and inflate it. This helps find the vein. Fist and unfist your hand a few times. They will clean the site the needle goes in and then insert the needle.
The medics were very professional. I am needle-phobic and deep-veined, so was pleasantly surprised how easily and painlessly they did this. If you also find needles and/or blood worrisome, I find happy memories an excellent distraction.
Remember to breathe and relax. Expect the actual donation to last between 10 to20 minutes. This is where hydration and exercise pay off. The better your circulation and hydration are, the faster the donation process.
And that’s all.Congratulations! You are a lifesaver.”
What’s your Favorite Food after you Donate Blood?
“After donating, my favourite food is fast carbs, like pasta, fruit and leafy greens for iron. I find fatty/high protein food just makes me even more tired. Drink plenty of hydrating fluids, and you will soon be right as rain,” says Sue.
We also recommend you read tips about how to feel good and recover after donating blood from Donor.UA.
The blood donation process in Ukraine during times of war is a powerful testament to the resilience and compassion of the human spirit. Through the experiences of our dedicated volunteers, we have witnessed the profound impact of each donation. Together, we can save lives and provide a glimmer of light amidst the darkness of war.
September 8, 2023
Culture and History