We need to relieve people of negative ideas around blood donation by appealing to their human nature

Posted on June 14, 2024

“We need to relieve people of negative ideas around blood donation by appealing to their human nature,” writes Dr Deborah Vaz’s of UP’s Department of Haematology in light of World Blood Donor Day, observed annually on 14 June.

Sunny South Africa is sometimes shadowed by a dark cloud of negative misconceptions around blood donation. Yet it is a life-giving treatment that helps anyone, regardless of their gender, race or background. We need to do more to relieve people of negative ideas around blood donation by appealing to their human nature.

By giving blood, you could save the life of a mother who might otherwise die while giving birth to her baby – a baby who may never grow up to see just how beautiful South Africa is – or a friend who was travelling to see their loved ones, but never made it there on the roads.

Donating a unit of blood will take less than 30 minutes, yet you could save up to three people’s lives. A unit of blood goes through safety checks before being processed into three separate essential components: red cells, which deliver oxygen to the body; platelets, which help to arrest bleeding; and plasma, which contains many proteins such as clotting factors and antibodies.

Blood drives help to alleviate blood shortages, which South Africa is faced with, with targets never reaching the more than 800 000 people who need blood yearly. Donations remain voluntary and are not funded, because donors must want to donate for the right reasons. This process, along with other safety protocols, have been put in place by the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) to ensure that the supply of safe blood is maintained.

Let us rid ourselves of this dark cloud of negative misconceptions and see things in a positive light – of giving life. Let us look within ourselves and see that we all have the same colour blood that runs through our veins, and give to those who need it most. How often can you say that you saved a life? Blood donation allows you to save 3 lives in 30 minutes.

Donor centres can be found throughout the country. Visit the SANBS website: https://sanbs.org.za/donor-centres/ 

 

- Author Dr Deborah Vaz-Van der Riet is a Haematopathologis at UP’s Department of Haematology in light of World Blood Donor Day

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