(MENAFN - Arab News) A blood donation campaign was held in Riyadh on Friday to help this year's Haj pilgrims.
King Fahd Medical City (KFMC) teamed up with Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath (TNTJ), and collected 331 units of blood from 375 volunteers at the hospital premises during the weekend.
The event took place at the KFMC Blood bank in Riyadh with the help of men and women from the Asian expatriate community members.
According to a royal decree issued in 1984, the Ministry of Health does not import blood. They are collected from residents and citizens, who voluntarily and regularly donate blood.
The 20 health directorates in the Kingdom make their own arrangements with the blood donors to contribute to this worthy cause.
An official from the Health Ministry said it had stocked 16,000 units of blood to help the Haj pilgrims this year. He added that Friday's blood donation campaign is part of its contingency plan to stock more blood to provide services to the guests of Allah.
Faisal Mohamed, president of TNTJ Riyadh, said this was the 21st blood donation campaign sponsored by his company.
"The noble act of donating blood will not only give a new lease of life to many, it also heightens our sense of social responsibility by fulfilling the humanitarian and social needs of our local communities," Mohamed said, adding that the organization not only conducts such events regularly but also arranges a supply of blood as and when required for emergency purposes.
In July, the group conducted a similar campaign to collect blood in aid of Umrah pilgrims.
"We are guided by the Qur'an which says '" and whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved the life of all mankind! ...' (Al-Qur'an 5:32)," he stressed.
"We got an overwhelming response from our community members as well as from others," he added.
The donors included mothers from Tamil Nadu whose husbands are working in the Kingdom. Egyptians, Syrians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis also participated in the drive.
A standard health screening procedure was done prior to blood extraction. Each donor underwent tests for blood pressure, glucose and hemoglobin count before the donation. The checks also included tests for communicable diseases.
TNTJ is made up of a group of Tamil-speaking youths whose aim is to serve the people.
TNTJ deployed at least 20 vehicles for transporting the donors to the hospital on Makkah Road.
Donating blood is a fast and simple procedure. Blood donors can donate up to 450 ml of blood (one unit) every two and half to three months. This amount is small, given that the body contains five to six liters (10 to 12 units) of blood. The full blood donation procedure takes not more than 30 minutes.
There are a number of different blood types: O positive and negative, A positive and negative, B positive and negative, AB positive and negative. Distribution may be different for specific racial and ethnic groups, but in an emergency, anyone can receive type O negative red blood cells. People with type O blood are known as universal donors, and those with type AB blood are known as universal recipients.
An official from the General Directorate of Blood Banks and Laboratories said people can donate blood at their own convenience. He also pointed out that 20,000 blood donors were awarded the Third Degree Medal from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for their services to the nation.
Every year more than 500,000 citizens are registered as blood donors with the blood banks throughout the Kingdom. "Some of these donors give blood several times according to their physical health," the official said.