The blood donation process can be broken down into three steps:
When you arrive at the National Blood Collecting Centre, a blood-collecting technician will ask you some confidential questions about your health and lifestyle. The information obtained will be used to ensure that your blood is safe to be donated to patients, and that no harm will come to you the donor. Nb. All information provided is strictly CONFIDENTIAL.
You will then proceed to the donor area where the technician will conduct a short health examination which includes taking your pulse, blood pressure, and temperature. Your finger will also be pricked and a drop of blood taken to test your blood iron level to ensure it is safe for you to donate.
Once your vital signs are within normal range, a blood-collecting technician will clean your arm and insert a new, sterile needle attached to a blood bag, into your vein. This takes just a few seconds, and it can feel like a quick pinch. You will donate about 1 pint (one unit) of blood and the process should take less than 10 minutes (however, if you’re donating platelets, red cells, or plasma by apheresis, the process can take up to 2 hours). Blood samples will also be collected in two tubes which will be used to test the blood for diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B&C, HTLV and Syphilis. When you’re done, the needle will be withdrawn from your arm and you will be asked to apply some pressure to the site for a few minutes after which a band-aid will be applied.
Following the donation you will be given snacks and a drink to help your body get back to normal since you lost some fluids. You will also be advised to relax for at least 10 minutes to restore your strength and get some energy back before you leave
While the whole process, from the time you get to the Centre to the time you leave, can take about an hour, the actual donation itself may take as little as 5-12 minutes.