Friday, May 20, 2022

‘Pledge 25′ Club comes to Botswana

The National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS) has introduced ‘Pledge 25′ Club.

The NBTS has to collect 36 000 usable pints of blood per annum and this, in turn, has resulted in ‘Pledge 25′ being introduced.

“Pledge 25 Club is a non-remunerated youth club that works under NBTS. Among its objectives are reducing behaviour related infection among the youth, encouraging the youth to donate blood at least 25 times and above in their lives,” explained Tebogo Rramalebang, Pledge 25 Club Member. “We are more concentrated on the youth as they are future leaders of our country.”

In 1989, Zimbabwe started targeting a previously untapped group of low-risk donors and one such school-age blood donor at the time suggested it might be a good idea if young people pledged to give 25 blood donations by the age of 25 years.

Very soon many students started committing themselves to this idea and the formation of the first “Club 25” took place.

Now, around 70 percent of blood collected in Zimbabwe is donated by school students and Pledge 25 Club members.

The initiative has been particularly successful in keeping young people protected from HIV/AIDS and other infections because part of their pledge is that they will maintain healthy life-styles in order to provide the safest blood.

“Having worked for Zimbabwe and as an HIV/AIDS fighting strategy, Botswana then adopted the idea the same way it is,” said Rramalebang.

He further added that one does not donate blood because they are members; doors are also open to non-members.

Questioned on whether pregnant women are allowed to donate, Rramalebang explained that they are not since there are some complications involved when one is involved and that the expectant mother shares blood with the unborn baby.

Regarding available eligible donors, Rramalebang said that Batswana are responding at a snail’s pace.

“In 2010, we managed to collect roughly about 21 000 pints of blood but we have to collect 36 000 pints; we are still far from the target.”

Morongwa Tsagae, also a club member of Pledge25, added that, “Tebogo is telling the truth, the reason being, we have realised that adults donate more blood than the youth. The youth are not well informed so we have now formed a club which is specifically for the youth; we are hoping that we will be able to reach the required target.”

Dick Rrakereng, Blood Donor Recruitment Officer at NBTS, advised the youth to come in large numbers and donate blood because one may not know that by donating, they may be doing it for their own good in future when they have emergencies.

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