Mexico is a multicultural country that integrates a myriad of societies. It is a mixture of races, languages, socioeconomic realities, and educational levels. However, there is a public health issue whose reality is the same in each and every one of the population groups: the lack of unpaid voluntary donors, known in Mexico as “Altruistic Donors”.
2020 was the year established by the World Health Organization, so that its member states reach 100% of their blood donations from voluntary unpaid donors. In 2012, the indicator of altruistic donors in Mexico was 3%, nine years later, the proportion increased to 5%. That is the current reality: five out of every 100 donations in Mexico are made on a voluntary and unpaid basis.
The years go by and the reality is the same, with a poor collection of blood and its components from altruistic donors, obtaining these products from replacement donors, which are a source of uncertainty, insecurity and are not a guarantee of sufficient supply for patients. users in constant need. National public policies regarding blood safety are of very poor design, implemented and supervised in a worse way, and are not a source of certainty regarding the quality of obtaining blood products, screening for diseases and rational use of blood.
There is no active, structured and mass dissemination promotion of this public health activity and the lack of education to the general population and clinical professionals about blood donation is evident, since there is a lack of interest of the state in attending and solving this health problem. Specific action plans are non-existent, the inclusion of this issue is not one of the sensitive points in national health plans, the regulations regarding blood and its components are obsolete, out of date, not in accordance with current scientific advances, in addition of being riddled with errors and ambiguities.
It is also a fact that there is no robust funding for plans and projects related to blood safety, which is reflected in a multitude of establishments whose infrastructure and technology is old and insecure. Likewise, regulatory agencies are incapable of fulfilling verification and oversight tasks aimed at solving problems and not generating greater conflict. For example, lately, there are many blood and transfusion centers that lack licensing and public and private health responsibilities.
National quality control programs are not robust and participation is not universal in them, in addition to the lack of standardization of processes and procedures in immunohematology and infectious serology laboratories. The training is insufficient, we do not bet on the training of experts in donation and transfusion issues, so in the absence of professionalized personnel, express courses of “training” are chosen in disciplines as delicate and complex as those related to transfusion medicine. This reality is understood and has its origin in the authorities who for years have put the same ideas into practice and have obviously obtained the same results, which are nothing less than failure.
Now, there is evidence that by educating, informing, being clear with people and clearly exposing public health problems, cementing efforts on prepared, capable, honest, committed and responsible personnel, better results are obtained. Knowing the populations, their interests, their perception of reality and life, as this affects the vision of activities such as blood donation, in addition to access to mass media, new solid and continuous, attractive and transparent marketing strategies (not just isolated campaigns or commemorative days), they are the way to have better health results.
I take this column so that colleagues from the medical union, especially Clinical Pathologists, heed the call to change this reality and for this we must bet to consolidate ourselves as leaders in the dissemination, promotion and education on issues of blood donation for the general population and clinical staff. Similarly, make efforts to collaborate with representatives of the mass media, to consolidate blood donation as a “brand”, through education and structured awareness. In addition, it is time to apply tools for the evaluation and characterization of blood donors in Mexico, to adapt the information to the different realities of the different regions of the country, without forgetting to consolidate ourselves as a union to make a call to the authorities and governments, In an effort to make legal and regulatory modifications, as well as to demand resources to strengthen blood safety systems. Last but not least, monitor all these activities on a regular basis and involve more and more people in these tasks.
It is a fact that we are capable of choosing and transforming our reality and this applies to blood donation. Therefore: go ahead and make a difference, DONATE BLOOD!
Clinical Pathologist. Specialist in Laboratory Medicine and Transfusion Medicine, professor of specialty and promoter of altruistic blood donation
Opinion in your mailbox
Leave your email and receive free AM editorial columns, from Monday to Sunday