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Blood service appeals for donations as World Blood Donor Day approaches

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By Tauhierah Salie

The Western Cape Blood Service is appealing to all Muslims to recommence blood donations now that the month of Ramadan has passed. Corporate Public Relations Officer for The Western Cape Blood Service, Michelle Vermeulen says that despite the fact that 75% of the Western Cape’s population will need blood service in their lifetime, under 1.5% of the Western Cape’s population are blood donors.

As we celebrate Blood Donor Month and World Blood Donor Day on Friday, hospitals around the globe join the call reminding you of the importance of blood.

Why is donating blood important?

Blood transfusions and blood products assist doctors in saving countless lives by assisting patients such as: women suffering from bleeding associated with pregnancy and childbirth; children suffering from severe anaemia due to malaria and malnutrition, victims of trauma, emergencies, disasters and accidents; as well as patients undergoing advanced medical and surgical procedures.

Blood is also required for patients with blood and bone marrow disorders, inherited disorders of haemoglobin and immune deficiency conditions.

World Donor Month was initiated by ministers of health from across the world in 2005, who made a unanimous declaration of commitment and support towards voluntary blood donation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a resolution was adopted which urges Member States to implement and support well organized, nationally-coordinated and sustainable blood programmes with appropriate regulatory oversight.

Today, WHO reports that every few seconds, someone, somewhere, needs blood. It also notes that the transfusion of blood and blood products save millions of lives every year.

While it is essential for hospitals across the world to have access to sufficient blood supplies, this is unfortunately not always the case. Several facilities in impoverished areas struggle to keep up without donations and services face additional challenges when trying to maintain the quality and safety of the blood used.

What makes 2019 special?

This year, under the theme: “Safe blood for all”, organizations hope to raise awareness of how urgently blood is needed and encourage those who are eligible to contribute. According to WHO’s website, the objectives of this year’s campaign are:

• to celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood and to encourage those who have not yet donated blood to start donating;
• to highlight the need for committed, year-round blood donation, to maintain adequate supplies and achieve universal and timely access to safe blood transfusion;
• to focus attention on donor health and the quality of donor care as critical factors in building donor commitment and a willingness to donate regularly;
• to demonstrate the need for universal access to safe blood transfusion and provide advocacy on its role in the provision of effective health care and in achieving the goal of universal health coverage;
• to mobilize support at national, regional and global levels among governments and development partners to invest in, strengthen and sustain national blood programmes.

What makes me eligible to donate blood?

• Be healthy on the day of donation- no flu!
• HIV negative
• Weigh more than 50 kgs
• Be between ages of 16-75
• Lead a safe sexual lifestyle
• Have a substantial meal before you donate
• and increase your fluid intake on the day

Vermeulen said that while donations generally decline during the month of Ramadan, she is hopeful they will pick up again. The increase in donations is needed to sustain blood stocks during the winter months, when donations typically decline.

 “During the winter months we tend to a decline in blood donations. This is due to various factors such as regular donors suffering from cold and flu and of cause the cold weather is a hindrance to come and donate. During the holidays people may also not be near their usual donation facility.”

Vermeulen added that with June marking National Blood Donor Month and Friday the 14th June marking World Blood Donor Day, people are urged to come out in their numbers to donate. Their aid stocks are currently at four days but they aim to maintain a five day stock.

“Now that the fast is over, we’d really like to appeal to our Muslim donors again. Please come and donate, help us to maintain a blood stock level of five days during the winter months.”

Vermeulen asked that potential donors mark the following as designated areas where donations can be made this Friday:

  • N1 CITY MALL (Shop 38)
    Mon-Fri: 10:00 – 17:45
    Sat: 09:00 – 14:45
    Sun: 09:00 – 12:45
    Public Holidays: 09:00 – 12:45
  • BLUE ROUTE MALL (Shop G56)
    Mon-Fri: 10:00 – 17:45
    Sat: 09:00 – 14:45
    Sun: Closed
    Public Holidays: 09:00 – 12:45
  • 9 LONG STREET
    Mon-Fri: 08:30 – 16:15
    Every last Wednesday of the month: 07:30 – 18:45
    Sat, Sun & Public Holidays: Closed
  • Tygervalley
  • Ottery Hypermarket

Vermeulen also expressed appreciation for the Muslims who donated ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank all our Muslim donors who donated blood leading up to the fast. We couldn’t have done it without you. During the period of Ramadan our stocks were much better this time around,” said Vermeulen.

For additional locations visit the Western Cape Blood Service website by clicking on the link below:

https://www.wcbs.org.za/

VOC


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