Botswana faces a shortage of blood as the country gears up for a spike in accidents during the festive season.
Although Botswana needs about 4000 units of blood a year, so far the country’s blood bank has only collected about half of the required amount this year.
In a bid to encourage eligible blood donors to come forward in large numbers over the festive season, the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS), in collaboration with other stakeholders, has launched the “Roll Up Your Sleeve” campaign.
So far, the relentless effort by Ineeleng Kavindama, Trust chairperson in forging links with stakeholders such as Eric Ramco Label, the Media and the Botswana Football Association has yielded the much needed coverage and public education about blood donation, but this has not yet translated into sufficient blood in the bank.
According to a press statement from the Trust, “blood and blood products are commonly used by: cancer patients, victims of burns and trauma, victims of road accidents, surgery patients, pregnant women, new born babies, HIV/AIDS patients.
Blood products used most frequently include:
Red Cells ÔÇô Used for transfusion of patients who have lost substantial blood or who, due to their illness, cannot make their own.
Platelets ÔÇô Patients who suffer from leukaemia or those who have received a bone marrow transplant often suffer from low platelets count.
Plasma – The straw coloured liquid part of our blood in which the red cells, platelets and white cells are suspended. Plasma or its constituents can be used to treat many health problems including: bleeding disorders such as haemophilia, hepatitis, measles and chicken pox. It is also used during some operations and for serious burns.
Botswana needs about 40 000 units of blood per year.
Approximately 28 000 units of blood should be collected in Botswana this year.
There are currently about 8 000 “donors” who have donated in the last two years.
Currently NBTS collects about 21 000 units of blood annually.
Just 1 percent of people donate blood annually, but over 80 percent may need blood at some time.
Healthy people between 16 & 65 years of age weighing at least 50kg can donate
A male blood donor is able to donate up to 4 times per year.
A female blood donor is able to donate up to 3 times per year.
All blood collected in Botswana is from volunteer non-remunerated (unpaid) donors.
Blood donation should not be used/is not used as a way of knowing one’s HIV status.
Every blood donated is tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C and Syphilis.