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IRC staff donates blood on World Blood Donor Day 2023

Blood donation is the voluntary process where a person provides their blood for another individual, mostly a patient who needs blood as part of treatment. The doctor has to determine who needs blood and who can donate blood. Through a simple procedure, one can donate whole blood or donate specific components of their blood such as platelets, red cells, or plasma), although the most common type is whole-blood.

Donated blood is essential for various life-saving medical procedures, including surgeries, accident treatments, cancer treatments, childbirth complications, and managing blood disorders such as anaemia and haemophilia. Unfortunately, blood cannot be manufactured. Blood has an expiration date (21-35 days) and the constant demand relies on voluntary donations. By giving blood, you contribute directly to ensuring a readily available supply for those in need, thus saving many lives

In this article, we will look at whole blood donation process and offer information on some of the questions you could be having.

The Blood donation process

  1. Registration: You need to complete a very simple registration form which contains all required contact information needed to begin the donation process. This is usually provided at the blood donation centre.
  2. Screening: A drop of blood from your finger will be taken for a simple test to ensure that your blood iron levels are suitable for donating blood.
  3. Donation: After passing the screening test successfully, you will be directed to a donor bed for donation. This takes between 6-10 minutes only.
  4. Refreshment: You can stay in the waiting area until you feel strong enough to leave the donation center. In most cases, teams conducting blood drives give some refreshments at the donation zone. This helps to keep blood donors from getting dizzy or having other problems due to low sugar levels.
  5. Testing: Blood is tested for HIV, Hepatitis A & B among other infections.
  6. Results Collection: You can collect your results at the facility where you donated blood from.

Requirements to donate blood in Kenya

According to the Kenya Tissue and Transplant Authority, to donate blood, one has to have the following criteria;

  • Aged between 16 and 64 years.
  • Weighing at least 50 kilogrammes (kgs) for women and a minimum of 55kg for men.
  • Not be under any medication.
  • Not have been vaccinated in the recent past.
  • Women are not allowed to donate during their menstrual period.
  • Breastfeeding and pregnant women are not allowed to donate.
  • In good health at the time of donation. You must not be having or on treatment for a chronic or a long-term disease that weakens the body. Persons with conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease are not allowed to donate blood as this may further weaken their body’s ability to handle disease.
  • Able to pass the physical and health-history assessments carried out before blood donation. This includes a review of your medical history, vital signs such as –blood pressure, temperature, and pulse, pregnancy, age, and weight. These assessments are FREE of charge.
  • Not having any recent history of receiving blood or undergone surgery.
  • Men can donate blood again at least three months after their last donation.
  • Women can donate blood again at least four months after their last donation.

Things you should do on the day of your donation:

  • Drink extra water (or other non-alcoholic drink) before your appointment.
  • Eat a healthy meal, avoiding fatty foods like chips or ice cream.
  • Wear a shirt with sleeves that you can roll up above your elbows.
  • Let the doctor know if you have a preferred arm or particular vein that has been used successfully in the past to draw blood.
  • Relax, listen to music, talk to other donors or read while you donate.

After donating blood:

  • Keep the strip bandage on for the next several hours; to avoid a skin rash, clean the area around the bandage with soap and water.
  • Don’t do any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for the rest of the day.
  • If the needle site starts to bleed, apply pressure and raise your arm straight up for 5-10 minutes or until bleeding stops.
  • If you experience dizziness or light-headedness, stop what you’re doing and sit down or lie down until you feel better; avoid performing any activity where fainting may lead to injury for at least 24 hours.
  • Keep eating a well-balanced diet especially one rich in iron.

What are the advantages of donating blood to the donor?

Donating blood has several advantages, both for the donor and the recipients. Here are some of the key benefits to the donor:

  1. Knowing one’s blood group: you get to find out your blood type (A, B, AB or O) and your RH Factor (Positive or negative).
  2. Improved generation of blood in the body: After donating blood, the body rebuilds the missing blood cells which promotes the creation of new blood cells (Red & white blood cells) which in turn enhance your general well-being by helping maintain a healthy blood cell counts.
  3. Free health check-up: Before you are allowed to donate blood, you will go through a quick medical check-up to make sure you are fit enough to donate. This might include checking your blood pressure, haemoglobin levels, weight, and blood group. This can help to detect signs of potential health issues.
  4. Donating blood is a noble activity that is an impactful way of making a difference in your community as people come together to support those in need. Remember, your one donation has the potential to touch many lives and contribute significantly to building a healthier and stronger community.

* It's important to note that only healthy candidates can donate blood. Kindly consult a doctor to assess your health status before you donate blood.

Some common misconceptions about donating blood include:

Myth: Blood donation is painful.
Fact: The needle used during blood donation is the same as the one used on routine blood test and most people tolerate it well.

Myth: Blood donation takes a long time.

Fact: Blood donation usually takes about 10-15 minutes. Including registration, a brief medical check-up, and recovery time, the whole process usually takes about 30 minutes.

Myth: You can get diseases from blood donation

Fact: Blood donation entails the use of safe and sterile equipment, followed with strict safety protocols to minimize discomfort and ensure a safe experience.

Myth: Blood donation can weaken your immune system

Fact: Blood donation does not affect your immune system. The body quickly replaces the donated blood.

Myth: Only people with rare blood types should donate.

Fact: All blood types are needed and valuable. Blood banks need a constant supply of all blood types to meet the demands of different patients.

Myth: Donating blood will make you feel tired or weak.

Fact: Most donors feel fine after donating blood. Some may experience mild fatigue or dizziness, but resting and drinking plenty of fluids can help. The body replaces the lost blood within a day. It is advisable to not over exert yourself during this period.

Myth: You cannot donate blood if you have tattoos or piercings.

Fact: You can donate blood if you have tattoos or piercings. Ensure you wait for 12 months after you have gotten a tattoo to donate to ensure there is no risk of infection.

Where can I donate blood?

You can donate blood at any of the following Kenya Tissue and Transplant Authority (KTTA) regional transfusion or satellite centres, here. If you are in Kakuma, Hagadera, IFO and Dagahaley, you can donate blood at various locations including:




Amussait General Hospital

Kaapoka-IRC Main hospital



HagaderaIRC Main Hospital0724268551
IfoKCRS- IFO 1 hospital0792553906
DagahaleyMSF- Dagahaley Hospital0113906855

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