Donate blood, save a mother

2015-08-06 06:00

EACH day, nearly 800 women die from pregnancy related complications worldwide.

Currently 27% of maternal deaths are a result of severe bleeding during labour.

Among the causes responsible for 75% of deaths highlighted by the World Health Organisation, haemorrhage at birth is ranked second.

Pre-existing medical conditions aggravated by pregnancy such as diabetes, malaria, HIV, obesity are first on the list.

In Africa haemorrhage during pregnancy kills 34% of mothers and although maternal mortality rates have dropped by 50% between 1990 and 2013 in sub-Saharan Africa, more work can be done to further reduce the number of mothers dying.

In 2010 the South African National Blood Service reported that obstetrics and gynaecology cases used 26% of its total blood supply for that year. Other medical cases such as anaemia accounted for 27% of blood used.

“Most of maternal mortality is preventable and blood transfusions could mean the difference between life and death for many bleeding mothers,” says SANBS communications manager Vanessa Raju.

SANBS collects about 3000 units of blood daily and is committed to raising awareness about the need for blood to ensure that fewer South African mothers bleed to death.

Dr Marlene Bothma, obstetrician and gynaecologist at an academic hospital in Johannesburg, stressed the importance of sufficient blood units for patients.

“With our emergencies, patients lose a lot of blood and if we do not have supply, the patient may die.”

“Women’s Month is a great opportunity for us to remind donors that when they sacrifice their time to donate blood they save mothers who could die within hours without adequate blood supply to replenish blood lost at childbirth,” says Raju.

- Supplied

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