9 January 2013

South Africa: The Health Deputy Minister Dr Gwen Ramokgopa Responds to a Call to Donate Blood

press release

This morning, at 10h00, the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, took the opportunity to heartily thank the South African public who made an effort to donate blood during the festive period in order to save life.

Dr Gwen Ramokgopa estimates that every minute, someone in our hospitals is in need of blood. In fact, about one of every ten people entering a hospital requires a blood transfusion. These startling statistics underscore the crucial nature of blood donation. Yet, less than 5% of the population currently gives blood. The number one reason these donors say they give is because they "want to help others." This attitude of selfless giving supplies about 30,000 pints of donated blood used each day in South Africa.

The Deputy Minister said that "there is no substitute for human blood. Many car crash patients need blood transfusions, especially during the festive period. Many of these patients are among the most vulnerable in our hospitals - some are premature infants, children being treated for cancer and children having heart surgeries.

Additionally, adult cancer and trauma patients may require platelet transfusions to survive. Some patients requiring life-saving organ transplants are tragically passed up for the procedure, even when the organ is available, due to a lack of compatible blood to support the transplant.

According to Dr. Loyiso Mpuntsha, Chief Executive Officer of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), there has been a massive shortage of blood donors available to donate blood. This has had an impact on patients in dire need of blood transfusion for their survival, says.

In response to the current blood shortage, the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Gwen Ramokgopa, who is a regular blood donor, made time in her busy schedule to donate blood at the Queenswood donation centre in Pretoria.

The SANBS has been urging all donors who have missed out on a donation in the last year and also those who meet the minimum requirements to find the time to make a blood donation. It is from previous years that we know that up until the middle of January, blood stocks are always insufficient, and this can only be rectified with the help of the public, the many who so willingly give of themselves so selflessly.

To find out where to donate sms your "Name" and "Postal Code" to 31454 or call 0800 11 9031.

Minimum requirements to be a donor:

Between the ages of 16 - 65 years old

Weigh more than 50 kg

Have eaten a good meal before donating

Lead a sexually healthy lifestyle

For more information on donating blood, visit South African National Blood Service on www.sanbs.org.za.

Issued by: Department of Health

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