Black donors do something

2015-11-12 06:00

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Let us all take a moment to give the gift of life by donating blood.

Blood from all donors is used irrespective of colour, race or religion. More than a quarter of a million South Africans are regular blood donors, but only 10% of them are black.

At the same time, black people constitute 80% of those needing transfusions.

The South African National Blood Services (SANBS) has found that black people still believe their blood is discarded because of the high HIV infection rate among black people.

The needles are sterile and used only once. The procedure is pain free. Just thirty minutes of your time could save the life of a person with anaemia or leukaemia. You can also go the extra mile and donate an organ.

Black donors are desperately needed not only to boost the supply of blood, but because genetic differences mean that better matches between donors and recipients tend to occur within ethnic groups.

The more precise the match, the better for the patient. This is particularly important for people who require repeated transfusions and those who have rare blood groups.

In South Africa, where organ donations can dip as low as two per million people, people can wait years for an organ transplant. Many don’t live long enough to find a suitable match. Black patients often require highly matched blood and organs, and donors with similar ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be a close match.

People from the Black community are also more likely to need an organ transplant as they are more susceptible to illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and certain forms of hepatitis, all of which may result in organ failure and the need for a lifesaving transplant.

With not enough black organ donors, Black patients are over represented on the transplant waiting list and will wait, on average almost a year longer for a kidney transplant than a white patient

So, how do we change this? How do we increase the number of blood and organ donors from black communities?

The first step is to think. Think about becoming a lifesaver. Think about how you would feel if your loved one needed blood or an organ.

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