Botswana: 'Donate Blood, Save Lives'

Francistown — Chief Registered Nurse at Northern Blood Transfusion Centre, Mr Joseph Moatshe has urged Batswana to donate blood in large numbers and on regular basis in order to save lives.

Mr Moatshe said in an interview recently that Botswana needed about 40 000 units of blood per year, and currently collection was between 19 000 and 21 000, which shows that more blood was still needed.

He said that blood was donated on voluntary basis and without any payment as it had been deemed the safest type of donation. Paid-for blood donation is associated with high risk of infections in donated blood as people donate for economic returns.

Mr Moatshe added that blood could be stored for 42 days before it expires.

However, since demand for blood was high, blood stocks rarely reach expiry dates, hence the need for consistent blood donation to ensure full blood supply.

He said blood was needed for patients involved in road traffic accidents and other injuries where there is loss of blood or for those with cancers, burns and anemia.

Mr Moatshe said the major sources of blood were students, churches and Botswana Defence Force personnel and therefore urged individuals to donate blood regularly.

He said anyone aged between 16 and 65, weighing at least 50 kilograms could donate blood as long as they are HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C infected and do not have heart problems, high and low blood pressure.

He said that men could donate blood once in three months while women could do so once in four months.

He assured the donors that there were no known side effects since tests were conducted before donating to confirm if those who donate blood were in good health.

Mr Moatshe added that a single donation takes 450ml of a person's blood, making it less than 10 per cent of his/her total blood volume, which is not dangerous or unhealthy.

"Blood donors are advised to have a meal within four hours and drink a lot of liquids before donating, and after donating we provide refreshment to blood donors to give them energy," he added.

Mr Moatshe said the blood donation process takes about 10 minutes for an individual and a minimum time of 15 minutes of rest after donation and therefore people should not think it will take much of their time."

He added that after donation, the body replaces blood volume or plasma within 24 hours, and red blood cells need four to eight weeks for complete replacement, therefore no danger can arise as a result of blood donation.

Mr Moatshe said that other benefits of blood donation are that blood donors enjoy continuous counseling on positive living to help them stay healthy, and they are regularly tested for different infections.

He noted that blood donation is a noble, selfless service and an expression of love for humankind, as blood knows no colour, religion or race.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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