Botswana: Shortage of Blood Remains Concern in the Country

Serowe — Various speakers at a buildup activity towards World Blood Donor Day have expressed concerns at the failure by eligible blood donors to meet the 45 000 units of the annual national target.

The World Health Organisation has set a target that in order to meet blood need, two per cent of the population should donate blood.

Speaking at the buildup event in Serowe, a representative from National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS), Ms Tumelo Ramalebang highlighted that the country had not reached the 45 000 units target as required.

She revealed that the biggest achievement was collecting 27 000 units, but however warned that the country was in dire need of blood.

As such, Ms Ramalebang challenged all eligible givers to donate blood to save lives of other Batswana.

Despite Ministry of Health and Wellness' services being centred mostly at health facilities, NBTS undertakes some outreach events to raise awareness about blood transfusion as well as collecting samples from donors to augment services that are offered countrywide.

Ms Ramalebang said that in their campaign together with Pledge 25, an organisation of young people that raises awareness about blood donation and members pledge to donate blood at least 25 times in their lifetime, statistics showed that they would fall far below their target of 1 000 units.

So far, throughout the buildup from Maun, via Letlhakane and Gweta among other places visited, NBTS managed to collect only 114 units.

The team will collect blood from donors in Palapye and Serule before completing their 14-day campaign that acts as a precursor to the World Blood Donor Day.

However, Serowe District Management Team leader Dr Nahanson Kombe said that based on statistics, there was a possibility of fulfilling the 45 000 units set for the year.

He said that from January 19 to March 19 this year, NBTS collected 27 per cent of the required national target.

Dr Kombe showed that NBTS has never met the 45 000 units collection target.

In 2016, NBTS collected 65 per cent of the required national target, 58 per cent in 2017 and collected 60 per cent last year.

Dr Kombe said that the already collected 27 per cent of the target was a good sign that NBTS could reach the target provided education and awareness campaigns are strengthened to appeal to potential donors.

He thanked schools in particular, saying that students contributed safe, usable blood.

Consequently, Dr Kombe pleaded with schools management and government departments to spread the message of donating blood to give life.

He also called on eligible donors to regularly donate blood.

For his part, Mr Obusitswe Jaele a blood donor since 1996 challenged those eligible to donate blood without fear.

Like other speakers, he reiterated the importance of donating blood to save lives.

Mr Jaele said that he had set himself a target of donating four units of blood annually.

He revealed that he would be donating his 78th unit and that had it not been due to health concerns in the past, he could have long donated over 100 units.

Selebi Phikwe will host World Blood Donor Day on June 14.

The event will be held under the theme; Easy access to Blood Donation: Safe Blood for all.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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