Tuesday, August 09, 2022

" Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction. "

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Blood Donation

blood_donationBy Batandwa Malingo
The unpopularity of blood donation in black communities of the Eastern Cape has resulted in the province recording just below 32 000 donations last year although the demand for donation continues to rise rapidly.
This came as a result of some black South Africans believing that blood donation is a “foreign concept”. One of those is Sinawo Hermaans who said: “Blood donation is foreign to black people due to our cultural beliefs”.
However Ms Merelda Sibanyoni from the South African National Blood Services (SANBS) urged citizens to donate blood as donating contributes towards saving lives. “Knowing that your blood donation could contribute towards saving someone’s life gives one a sense of achievement,” she said.

But Sinawo Hermaans wouldn’t hear a word. “I personally believe my ancestors would forsake me,” said the 22-year-old from Cradock. He believes that his blood belongs to his ancestors so it should be treated with respect and not be given to someone he doesn’t even know. Unlike him, Andisa Bonani from Grahamstown tried donating but was turned down. She said the donors tested her blood and the results were that she had low ions at the time, but she swore: “I’ll definitely try donating again this year.” She believes that if her ancestors were in her position they would do the same and help other people.
Having low ions and other health issues are some of the reasons that discourage people to donate blood. Low irons are caused by severe loss of blood and poor diet. SANBS communications officer Ms Merelda Sibanyoni said for a person to be able to donate they must be between the ages of 16 to 65, weigh more than 50kg, leads a safe-sex lifestyle and eat a good meal before going for donation. She also slammed allegations that the SANBS test HIV when someone is donating. “SANBS does not offer free HIV testing. Hence it is advisable to know your status before you attempt to donate,” she said.

According to Ms Sibanyoni the SANBS is a non-profit organisation therefore it doesn’t sell the donated blood for profit. However patients who have medical aids are billed as the organisation runs an intense testing on every unit of blood donated that costs R500 000 a day. Patients who attend public hospitals get free blood transfusions. She said that her organisation circulates the donated blood to both public and private hospitals countrywide.

Ms Sibanyoni encouraged people of the Eastern Cape to donate because the donated blood is not only used by victims of accidents. Cancer patients and people who undergo normal surgical procedure may need blood too.
“Children who have been diagnosed with medical conditions such as aplastic aneamia (a reduction in heamoglobin caused by bone marrow failure) need regular blood transfusions to stay alive and healthy,” she added.

She encouraged people who are interested to visit the SANBS donor centres in East London (Berea and Beacon Bay), Queenstown, Mthatha, Uitenhage, and three other centres in the Port Elizabeth area. Ms Sibanyoni thanked all the donors in the Eastern Cape who have shown kindness by donating. “I also urge potential donors to make a conscious effort to donate blood. Be a hero, it’s in your blood,” she said.  However it seems as if the donors in East London are coming to the call made by the organisation as the branch mostly reaches its monthly target. Ms Rene Vice, a public relations practitioner at the East London branch said that even if their branch collects more donations, it is unlikely to change national donations because some branches collect low numbers of donations. – WSU-SNA

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