Muslims unite in blood donation world record attempt

Corazon Miller
Source: 1News

Kiwi Muslims have joined an international bid to break the world record of the most blood donations in a single day.

Blood service centres in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch saw around 300 donors kick off the global campaign which will conclude in London on Saturday evening NZT.

Dozens of other cities, in 20 countries, including the United States, France and the Philippines, will also be hosting blood donation drives.

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It's been driven by social justice organisation, Who is Hussain, which set a target of 50,000 units - well above the current record of 35,000 made in India in 2020.

Auckland-based volunteer Shamsia Askari says the drive was in line with the organisation's vision of being kind and compassionate.

"We are living those values and giving back to save lives."

Globally countries are struggling with a shortage of blood. Here in Aotearoa, the New Zealand Blood Service estimates that in order to meet demand it needs more than 38,000 new donors in the next year.

Each week it requires more than 4,000, to help treat sick and injured Kiwis.

NZ Blood Service national marketing manager Asuka Burge says there are less than 4% of Kiwis who donate blood - and stocks are running low.

"It is really important for us to get new donors right now," she says. "We have been struggling over the winter period."

She says today's drive has seen a lot of new donors come through its doors.

"Days like this are amazing, so we can get new blood in here."

Something that Burge says can happen any day of the week at any one of its donation centres. The process is simple, requiring a few eligibility checks and a little bit of time.

"It's a five to ten minute process on the bed itself, and you can help save lives," she says.

Every donation made has the potential to save up to three lives.

The final tally for today's campaign is expected to be finalised on Monday.