Gaborone — Botswana needs approximately 45 000 units of blood every year to take care of any eventualities, says Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Mr Biggie Butale.
Speaking at the launch of a countrywide cycling tour recently, Mr Butale said blood transfusion and blood products helped to save millions of lives every year.
"It helps patients suffering from life-threatening conditions to live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures," he said.
Pledge 25 Cycling Club recently embarked on a countrywide blood donation drive via a cycling tour to raise awareness and encourage people to donate blood.
The cycling tour is a build-up to the World Blood Donor Day which will be commemorated in Mahalapye on June 14.
The tour began in Gaborone on June 1 and cyclists will be travelling through 12 villages across the country with the aim to collect 2 000 units of blood. It will end on June 14.
Mr Butale said the 2 000 units of blood would add value to the national blood requirements.
He also said the cycling tour was important as it focused on blood donation as an expression of community participation in the health system.
On this year's theme: Be there for someone else, he called on everyone to donate blood and save lives.
He also encouraged people all over the country to voluntarily and regularly donate blood.
World Blood Donor Day is an international event which aims to appreciate blood donors as well as create awareness on blood donation.
On the other hand, Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Mr Haskins Nkaigwa thanked the Pledge 25 Cycling Club for the countrywide blood donation initiative.
He emphasised the need for the nation to donate blood, saying it would save not only those in need, but also for themselves and their loved ones.
On behalf of the club, Mr Gaolatlhe Medupe said cyclists were fit for the tour owing to rigorous preparatory training they went through.
Mr Medupe also challenged other stakeholders to join in efforts of raising awareness about blood donation.
Pledge 25 Cycling Club is a group of young people aged between 18 and 35 whose main aim is to create awareness on blood donation and encourage people to donate blood and make it a part of their lifestyle.
Club members have also pledged to donate blood 25 times in their lifecycle.
Source : BOPA