The United States Mission announced this week that it is supporting Botswana’s national campaign for blood donation by conducting a “blood drive” today (Wednesday) at the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Botswana).┬á
Botswana is said to be in need of 40,000 units of blood per year, but today the collection stands at 41 percent of the requirement. One unit of blood sometimes is separated into three distinct components and can be given to three different people in need.┬á
“We are promoting this voluntary campaign to U.S. Mission staff, family members, and our local partners, recognizing that the need for blood is constant and the gratification from giving is instant. The blood supply in Botswana is critically low,” a statement from the US Embassy in Gaborone says.┬á
Dr. James Shepherd of CDC Botswana said, “I conduct rounds at Princess Marina Hospital and witness firsthand the blood shortage experienced in this country. I have patients die because there simply is no blood to give them. When we give blood, we’re literally giving life. This donation drive is where our actions can have a directÔÇöand highly positiveÔÇöimpact. I encourage all those who are able to give to join in donating. It’s safe, and it saves lives.”┬á
The U.S. Mission, according to the US Information Specialist, Laona Segaetsho, has been mobilizing support for several weeks, inviting partners in the health sector as well as reaching out to personal friends to join in this life-saving initiative.
“Our goal is to increase the number of donated units from the previous blood donation initiative held for World AIDS Day in December 2011,” said Segaetsho.┬á
Botswana’s national year-long HIV theme is ‘Getting to zero: Zero new infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS-related deaths.’ The U.S. Embassy’s theme is ‘Getting to Zero Together’, which the Embassy says signifies “our strong commitment and partnership with Botswana to achieve an AIDS-free generation together. Safe blood donation encourages donors to stay HIV-negative ÔÇö so that they can continue to donate and save lives. This blood donation campaign is part of the U.S.
Government’s continued commitment and service toward creating better health outcomes in Botswana”.┬á
The National Blood Transfusion Service will collect blood today from 9am to 4pm at the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Members of the public are encouraged to join and donate.