Windhoek– The Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) hosted its first blood donation drive yesterday with 14 units of blood collected. The blood collected during this single donation drive can potentially save the lives of 42 people and will be distributed to patients countrywide including mothers who bleed excessively during or after childbirth, premature babies or those with jaundice, patients awaiting organ transplants as well as accident and other trauma victims.
According to the Blood Transfusion Service of Namibia (NAMBTS), the monthly blood average needed to sustain the country is 2800 units. An average healthy adult person has over 5 litres of blood in their body and through one donation they give away only 450ml thereof. However only 0.8% of the eligible Namibian population donates blood. As a result, the country is perennially faced with a shortage of blood as there is no known substitute for it, thereby putting hundreds of lives at risk. It is against this background that the NQA as a responsible corporate citizen decided to partner with the NAMBTS on this blood donation drive in order to contribute towards the country’s blood supply.
“As an organization, we consider ourselves to be a beacon of hope for a better future through the work that we do and this blood donation drive is an extension of that belief. In order for our country to prosper we need skilled, healthy and productive citizens who are actively contributing to the economy. Given the challenges with blood supply and the increasing need thereof, we decided to step up as a team and become part of the solution by organizing this blood donation drive, which is just the first of many”, said NQA Marketing and Communications Manager, Catherine Shipushu.
The NQA also used the event to educate its employees on the importance of regular blood donation and the significant impact this can have in the lives of others. In addition to that, it was important for the organization to create a convenient platform for its employees to donate blood particularly those whose tight schedules would otherwise not allow them to do so.
From the 14 people who selflessly donated blood, six (6) were first time donors who were excited to potentially donate the gift of life to others. Julien Broekstein, an Evaluations Officer at the NQA was amongst the first time donors. She said the experience had such a profound impact on her that she willing to do it again. “I decided to donate blood today because I want to make a difference in someone’s life. I am very proud of myself for being brave and I will definitely become a regular blood donor”, said Broekstein.
For another first time donor Benjamin Chikuza, a random visit to the NQA House presented an opportunity to potentially save someone’s life. Said Chikuza, “I came to the NQA office for other business and noticed there’s a blood donation drive going on. I grabbed this opportunity simply to set an example for others to follow suit and donate blood in order to give this precious gift like I did today.”
Although the target to collect at least 25 units was not me, the NQA aims to organize another blood donation drive in the near future to increase its contribution to the country’s blood bank, and thus invites other SOE’s to support its endeavors. “On behalf of the NQA, I would like to thank each and every employee who donated blood today, the NAMBTS as well as our neighbours from the New Era Publishing Company without whose support this blood donation drive would not have been possible,” said NQA CEO Franz Gertze.
Blood products save and enhance the lives of thousands of patients every year. In this regard, Gertze called on all Namibians to play their part in ensuring that there is a consistent supply of healthy and reliable blood in the country.
“Due to the low donor numbers in the country, blood is almost always in short supply. I therefore encourage individuals and companies alike to become committed blood donors. If we join hands for this worthy cause, we can save thousands of lives by successfully closing the gap between the demand and supply of blood in the country. The best part is that it could be your own life or that of your loved one that you will be saving”, said Gertze.