South Africa

Plea to ’keep world beating’ on World Blood Donor Day

IN anticipation of a major decline in blood stocks during the winter months, the Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) and the Cape Times have joined forces to encourage all healthy, existing and potential blood donors to donate blood.

This donation by those who fulfil the basic donor criteria can save up to three lives with one blood donation.

As part of celebrating National Blood Donor Month, with June 14 being World Blood Donor Day, the WCBS hopes to raise awareness about the need for safe blood and blood products and the importance of blood donation.

This year’s World Blood Donor Day is celebrated with the theme “Give blood and keep the world beating”.

“Blood stocks tend to decline during the winter months, as people suffer from colds and flu and subsequently are unable to donate blood. The Covid-19 pandemic also added extra pressure on the blood stocks. Since the start of the pandemic, collections at schools, tertiary institutions and corporates were curtailed,” said WCBS public relations manager Marike Gevers.

In recent years, about 1% of the population of the Western Cape made up the blood donor population. During 2020, this figure decreased to 0.86%.

Ideally, 1-2% of the population should donate blood, said the organisation.

The non-profit, independent organisation operating throughout the Western Cape aims to collect 700 units of blood every day to supply the Western Cape with a safe, sufficient blood supply.

Every year they aim to increase their active donor base by at least 2 200 new donors to keep up with the demand for blood.

“Currently, we are not meeting our daily collection target of 700 units of blood. The province’s blood usage has increased, and winter always adds additional pressure on the blood supply,” said Gevers.

Cape Times marketing and brand officer, Olwethu Bhozo, said the partnership with WCBS was an extension of the publication's various initiatives to support its diverse readership community.

"Over the past few years we have been actively involved in highlighting and supporting various initiatives which impact on the lives of our readers. Our support for the homeless, literacy development, anti-gender-based violence programmes, small business development initiatives and so on, have not only made an impact on our readers and the communities in which they reside, but hundreds of our readers have assisted generously to make these projects a success.

"Our support for the WCBS is therefore a natural extension of our ongoing community engagement projects and we know that our readers will heed the call to donate blood, especially since we are on the eve of winter and in the midst of the third wave of the Covid pandemic", said Bhozo.

Anyone between the ages of 16 and 75, weighing 50kg or more, in good general health and leading a safe sexual lifestyle, should be able to donate.

Blood donation only takes approximately 30 minutes of your time and you can donate every 56 days. To find your closest blood donation clinic, download the WCBS app on Android and iOS. Send a WhatsApp to 060 549 7244 or visit the website on www.wcbs.org.za for more information.

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