Statistics indicate that there are approximately 6.5 million people living in the Western Cape, while less than 1.5% of the population in the Western Cape are blood donors.
This is a worrying statistic for the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS). “As the population in the Western Cape is growing and access to medical care is becoming more accessible, we need more blood donors to meet the demand for safe blood and blood products”, says Marlize van der Merwe, WPBTS Corporate Public Relations Officer.
The Service needs the help of its regular blood donors to recruit new blood donors. Therefore the “Bring-A-Buddy” Campaign has been launched. This campaign will take place during the month of October throughout the Western Cape at all blood donation clinics. Regular blood donors are encouraged to bring a friend, family member or colleague to donate blood with them. “A poll conducted on our website indicated that most people started donating blood after being inspired or referred by a friend, family member or colleague,” says van der Merwe.
What’s in it for our regular donors? A small token of our appreciation of course and knowing that you assisted the Service in ensuring a safe and sustainable blood supply by increasing our donors.
Blood donation takes 20 to 30 minutes of your time every 56 days. It requires you to be between the age of 16 and 65, weigh over 50kg, be in good general health and lead a safe sexual lifestyle. It does not cause you any bodily harm, since only 475ml of blood is taken, which is replaced within 24 hours.
While donors from all blood groups and communities are important, there is a particular need for donors with blood types O and B to donate as stocks of these are more vulnerable to shortfalls. There is also a need for more black African people to become blood donors to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients.
For more information, SMS “Blood” to 33507 and WPBTS will call you back with information on where to donate. Donors can also call (021) 507 6300, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wpblood.org.za. Like us on Facebook (WP Blood), follow us on Twitter (@WPBlood) and/ or Instagram (WP_Blood) or download the WP Blood App (free download on iOS and Android app stores) for blood stock updates.