Donate blood to save lives

The South African National Blood Service (Sanbs) is faced with challenges on dispelling myths associated with blood transfusion in South Africa.

Research shows that 36 percent of blood transfusions are used for women who lose blood during childbirth and gynaecological cases, as well as for cases like surgery of foetuses, infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

However, many people still believe the majority of donated blood serves people in accidents or the affluent only.

According to blood service spokesperson Vanessa Raju, blood donation is important, and people need to be educated about it.

She said to meet the requirements, you had to be a minimum of 50 kilograms of weight; be between the ages of 16 and 65 years; be in general good health and live a sexually safe lifestyle.

Raju encouraged donors to donate for a minimum of four times a year. “One can donate every 56 days,” she said.

She said, once the blood is collected, it is transported in temperature controlled vehicles to the blood testing centres.

“Here, every unit of blood is tested individually for HIV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis. The unit of blood is then separated into the various components of red cells, platelets and plasma,” she added.

Raju urged people to continue donating blood.

“The blood service is a non-profit organisation and is not funded by government or any other private institution. The organisation can only exist with the help of voluntary donors who donate blood purely to make a difference to the lives of others. All the expenses and overheads that allow for the blood service to exist is then converted as a fee for service to the blood products, when needed.”

She said donors’ commitment was the only way to ensure that the service does not go into a blood shortage.

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