Every year World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on the 14th of June and this year the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has highlighted the need to maintain a stable supply of healthy and safe blood.
The SANBS has urged all South Africans to donate blood to save a life.
Speaking to SADC News SANBS Chief Marketing Officer Silungile Mlambo says this day is celebrated to thank and applaud all the unpaid blood donors for their life saving gift of blood.
“This day is to also raise awareness for regular donation of blood to ensure that the SANBS can meet the demand of blood in the country,” she said.
Mlambo says this year’s theme is: “Safe Blood for all” which aims to encourage people to become blood donors and donate blood regularly.
“we are on the process of building a strong sustainable blood supply, so are saying donate blood, safe blood for all and save other people’s life,” she said
Mlambo added that the process of collecting the blood is not a complicated one, the blood is collected and taken to facilities, where it is tested for blood types and diseases such as HIV.
“the blood also goes through a whole series of test, then it is separated into three components, plasma, white cells, red cells and then after it goes to the hospital for the patient who needs it,” she explained.
According to Mlambo said for one to qualify to be a donor they need to be over the age of 15 years and not over the age of 75 years old and weigh more than 50kg.
“But then you have to come to one of stations where we will do other tests, your HB levels and blood pressure and if you are fine, the you can donate blood.”
Mlambo says they frequently experience the challenge of blood shortage adding that: “now it’s winter and It’s cold, so people don’t donate as regularly as they do in other seasons.”
“There is also fear that the process of donating blood is complicated and some people fear the needle, so that is why days like these are important to raise awareness, to let people know that is not complicated as they think,” she added.
Mlambo encourage people to do the right thing and go donate blood and save the life.
“One day this blood you’ve donated can save, your mother, sister or friend, so I encourage everyone to go out there and donate blood because one unit of blood can save three people lives,” she said.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.