Francistown — COVID-19 has made it difficult for the National Blood Transfusion Centre to recruit people to donate blood.
However, the team still makes it a priority to locate people to donate blood so that they can reach their target as shortage of blood remains a challenge.
The team was recently in Francistown to reach out to residents of the northern part of the country that includes Selebi-Phikwe, Boteti and Chobe.
One of the recruiting officers, Ms Neotsothe Tsholetso explained that there was an acute shortage of blood in health facilities across the country. She lamented that COVID-19 was preventing people from donating blood in large numbers.
Ms Tsholetso said where possible, they put up stalls in malls and places with heavy movement of people with the hope of attracting a high number of people.
She said they observed all COVID-19 protocols.
Ms Tsholetso noted that schools and work places had larger numbers of people willing to donate compared to the response they got at their stalls.
She explained that their initial target was 39 people a day, but that various factors, including COVID-19, had led them to reduce the number to 15.
She further explained that there were also misconceptions surrounding donating blood, adding that there were still people who were afraid of needles or were simply unaware of how much the country needed blood.
Ms Tsholetso urged Batswana to educate themselves and be aware of what they could do to save lives.
To donate blood one has to be aged 15-65, in good health, weigh more than 50kg and show no signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
At the Galo Mall stall, Mr Basimane Phizha, a blood donor counsellor, said before COVID-19, they would move around cajoling people to donate blood, but that now they only stayed in their stalls, waiting for those who wished to donate.
Mr Phizha said due to the acute shortage of blood, donations would continue as long as COVID-19 protocols were observed.
"COVID-19 and blood donation are two sides of the same coin and they will never separate," he added.
He further said Batswana could safely donate at all their facilities, including the Francistown one located next to Botswana Life Insurance. .
He also encouraged Batswana to protect themselves against coronavirus so they could be able to donate blood and save lives.
Source : BOPA