Dawn Lonergan examines the details of the Blood Drive on Campus

According to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, 3000 donations are needed every week to keep supplies available. This is ongoing while one in four people will need a blood transfusion at one point in their lives, and over 70,000 people in hospitals will receive these donations this year.

However the problem is this; only three percent of the people of Ireland give blood and a single unit of blood just lasts for 35 days.In the period just before the the 11th of January  this year, supply was very tight with just 4 days available in all of the major blood group. Donations have increased since this but this should never have happened, especially as it is  something that can be easily maintained. How did this happen in the first place, if becoming a blood donor is as easy as good health, between 18 and 65 years of age and weigh at least 50kgs?

There are numerous rules that stop many people from giving blood, which are as simple as that you must wait four weeks after you get a piercings,and four months after a tattoo. You must wait also wait two weeks to donate if you are currently on antibiotics. Additionally, if you have a cold sore you cannot give blood until that has healed.  You should not donate blood for 2 weeks if you have recently recovered from the flu or have just completed a course of antibiotics.You can never give a blood transfusion  have received a blood transfusion in the Ireland on or after the 1st January 1980 or if you have spent 1 year or more, in total, in the UK from 1980 to 1996.

The more complicated ones include the following: you or your partner is HIV positive, a 12 month ban if you have given birth, or  a lifetime ban if you are a homosexual man. In a previous article written by The College Tribune Over 600 signatures were collected as part of the “Give Blood Because We Can’t” campaign, which is looking to lift the ban on men who have ever had sex with another man from donating blood.

Many people fear what exactly will happen when they give blood, even though it is, according to Third year Law with Politics student Margaret Hayes, “such a simple thing to do that could potentially save a persons life”

What happens exactly when you go in is that,  firstly a drop of your blood will be analysed for haemoglobin (iron level) content.After the medical screening process which is to check if you are anaemic, you will be shown to a donation bed. A doctor or nurse will then insert a needle that is attached to a blood bag. The bag is kept out of sight below the level of the bed. You will be asked to open and close your hand to ensure smooth blood flow from the arm.The donation itself takes between 8 -15 minutes, and takes just under a pint of blood.

People also have worries about giving blood to something that has a bad history of spreading disease due to incorrect procedures. For example, in Ireland between 1977 and 1994 a number of people were infected with Hepatitis C unknowingly, and clear evidence on this did not become available until the mid 1990s. Most of the people who received this blood were women. The Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal was established by the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Act, 1997, and amended by the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal (Amendment) Act, 2002, to compensate people who contracted Hepatitis C or HIV as a result of receiving blood or blood products.

People are recognised for their commitment by being awarded as follows: a silver award for ten donations and a gold award for twenty donations; a gold drop is given for fifty donations and presentation at an awards dinner ceremony; a porcelain pelican for a hundred donations with the presentation at an awards dinner ceremony.