Blood connects us all: Celebrating World Blood Donor Day

2016-06-08 06:00

THE South African National Blood Service (SANBS) commemorates World Blood Donor Day on June 14. This is an international day of recognition of blood donors globally. The theme for World Blood Donor Day this year is “Blood connects us all”.

In the face of major communicable disease epidemics South Africa has maintained a high degree of blood safety and a reliable supply of blood countrywide.

SANBS is yielding positive results across these areas:

•It is one of the 65 countries in the world that gets 100 percent of its blood from voluntary donors who are not remunerated. The WHO has a target that by 2020 all countries will adopt this model.

•SANBS works closely with healthcare workers who do transfusions at health facilities to heighten awareness about the correct use of blood thus reducing wastage of this precious resource.

•To keep blood safe SANBS tests every single unit of blood collected daily for pathogens that cause HIV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis which are highly prevalent in the country. South Africa is one of few middle-income countries that run nucleic acid amplification testing (NAT) which detects the pathogens responsible for these epidemics by significantly reducing the length of the window period.

This is an investment that has given many accident victims, people suffering from blood-related diseases and mothers in labour, the opportunity to live healthy lives.

Today SANBS has over 400 000 donors on its database and the number is growing.

“SANBS is also getting younger as we are seeing the proportion of donations from our youth increase. We have invested in taking a targeted approach to donor education and community support that moves beyond the need for blood as medical response but also a unifying act of love and care,” said SANBS communications manager, Vanessa Raju.

World Blood Donor Day will be celebrated in Port Elizabeth on June 11 at Baywest Mall, Centre Court in association with Algoa FM.

For more info on how to become a blood donor visit – REPORTER

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