Have you ever missed your blood donor appointment because you are travelling? Have you ever considered giving blood overseas and thought it must just be a hassle? Well let me tell you that there are opportunities everywhere you go and the procedures are mostly less complicated than the UK.
I have been really lucky starting early when in the RAF to give blood and I remember well that we were given an option in our basic training….continue with this exam or give blood and it was a difficult decision because I did have a phobia about needles…who doesn’t after all.
Due to time served in the Royal Air Force, I ended up in Hong Kong, Germany, Cyprus, America and the Falkland Islands…and have happily left at least a pint of bloody legacy in each of these places!! Since then I have now, whilst travelling, given blood in Greece and just recently Kathmandu, Nepal.
Everywhere the process is really simple and the last one in Nepal was just so bizarre. I walked out of my hotel to see one of the little squares had been transformed with a tent type structure…deck chairs were laid out and there were people milling everywhere…kids still playing.
I asked if I could donate and was welcomed with open arms…literally. No prick of the finger here, they took a few details and asked me my blood group and then sat me in a deck chair. A nurse sat on the floor beside me with her young son sat watching in the other deck chair…she conducted the whole simple procedure with no intervention by additional doctors.
All the time random people were coming by to photograph the foreigner…they were all so appreciative and yes you do feel good after giving…and why shouldn’t you?!From then I was given a small Nepali meal and some tea and was presented with a certificate and tee shirt for my trouble….
Hong Kong I was given a pint of Guinness after the ordeal, Germany was precision all the way but with a full meal, a bar of chocolate and a bottle schnapps to finish with.
We simply never know when we or one of our loved ones might need blood in an emergency…how good will you feel if you know you have contributed in some way?
Donating abroad can be an equally fulfilling experience and one that will undoubtedly gain you the admiration and thanks of the locals….again why not?
All donor agencies use the same code of practise and the receptacles, needles and all equipment are sterilised so there is no cause for concern. My Nepali experience seemed ad hoc but having given over 50 pints I judged the procedures were as good as anywhere. All be it there were kids running around and it was conducted in the open .
Find out more about Nepali Blood Donating
And in the UK Blood Donating
GO ON GIVE A DROP….