Monday, October 26, 2020

Botswana’s blood bank is half empty

The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) is struggling to meet a target of 45 000 pints of blood it needs annually having collected only 24,000 pints in the previous year. With the Covid-19 regulations in place, the situation is likely to worsen. Those in need of blood are anaemia patients, blood disorder patients, patients under surgery, newly born babies, mothers going for delivery and accidents patients.

Answering the call for assistance with blood is Bofelo Kgaodi-Segotso, who has a month-long blood donation campaign aimed at motivating people to come forward to save lives and become champions. 

Bofelo told The Telegraph that it started 20 years ago when he was 16 years old and he has since made his 70th blood donation in August.

The campaign has been endorsed by the NBTS. It is intended to help collect more blood, create more awareness on blood donation as well as encourage more people to donate blood. 

“The spirit of love inspired my motivation towards donating blood, because giving blood is giving life and giving life is giving love. The campaign is held under theme save lives be a champion and the importance of blood inspired the theme. The theme is developed in such a way we motivate people to come forward to donate to make know they have a purpose in life,” Bofelo said.

Bofelo is the founder and head of Makoya Company AKOYA COMPANY, a Gaborone based creative powerhouse encompassing a broad range of services from music production, recording & publishing, TV & Film production, marketing, events production/management and talent management. He was first introduced to art at a tender age of 9 when he was casted to portray a character of Jesus in a school play.

He has also been part of youth activism activities such as being with Youth Health Organisation (YOHO) on voluntary basis, an organisation that worked with Botswana Government, United States Government and United Nations to promote youth health through music and theatre.

The blood donation campaign aims at attracting men and women currently located around Gaborone and surrounding areas. “The kind of people we are looking for and their age groups are men and women aged between 16 and 65 years. The age groups is in accordance with the requirements of the blood donation requirements.

The campaign began this month on the 3rd, however the recent two week movement restriction affected Bofelo and his campaign plans. “I had to adjust, change the strategy and we have trimmed down the magnitude of the campaign. We now abide by lockdown movement regulations and we communicate with people through Facebook and NBTS office has provided transport for volunteer donors as blood donation is an essential service which can’t be halted.”

Sharing the campaign experience Bofelo said “resources are a great challenge especially resources to market and prepare for the closing ceremony and general logistics. Government and the private sector can help by continuing to fund and expand funding as it will allow blood donation drives in their facilities.”

“The whole thing is exciting despite the lockdown, I enjoy challenges as they motivate me and it is a worthwhile experience,” Bofelo concluded.

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