Every year on 14 June, the Namibia Blood Transfusion Service (NamBTS) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) join the global community in commemorating World Blood Donor Day.
The day honours blood donors who save lives every day through their voluntary blood donations and strongly encourages more people all over the world, and particularly in Namibia, to donate blood voluntarily and on a regular basis.
The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the importance of thanking voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving act of solidarity, as well as the fact that services providing safe blood and blood products are an essential component of any health care system.
This year, World Blood Donor Day is commemorated with the slogan ‘Donating blood is an act of solidarity, 23 367 active donors in Namibia join the effort and save lives’ to draw attention to the roles voluntary blood donations play in saving lives and enhancing community solidarity.
NamBTS has challenged more Namibians to come forward and donate blood as the Blood Transfusion Service has recently experienced critical blood shortages. More than 160 donations are required daily to meet the demand for patients in hospitals and medical centres across Namibia.
Regular donations by unpaid, voluntary blood donors are the only way to ensure an adequate supply and according to NamBTS, it is a quick and simple process of about 20 minutes.
It advises that you eat a substantial meal three to four hours before donating, and increase your fluid intake on the day, both before and after giving blood.
What to expect at the clinic:
When you arrive, you’ll need to take your ID or donor ID card to reception.
If you’re a new donor, you will have to be registered first.
You’ll be given a confidential donor questionnaire to complete (you’ll need to do this each time you donate).
Your haemoglobin/HB (iron) levels are tested with a finger-prick test and your blood pressure and pulse are checked.
If all is okay, the sister will insert a new, sterile needle into your arm and begin the donation process.
You get to lie back and relax for about 10 minutes, which is roughly how long this part of the process lasts. During this time you’ll give only 475ml of blood, and with this you can save up to three lives.
You’re encouraged to take your time after your donation. Enjoy a nice cup of tea or fruit juice and have a cookie or two. Don’t rush off – the sister needs to make sure that you’re feeling fine.
Information on donation centres can be found on the NamBTS website. – Additional information from bts.com.na