Life-giving blood is something money can’t buy, says the writer. Picture: Annett_Klingner /Pixabay
Life-giving blood is something money can’t buy, says the writer. Picture: Annett_Klingner /Pixabay

Saving lives through blood donations

By Time of article published Dec 1, 2021

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By Dr Felleng Yende

Medical emergencies and accidents don’t take a break. Hospitals need blood every minute every day of the year, particularly during the festive season.

People die due to an inadequate supply of blood and blood products, but at the same time many lives are saved every year through blood transfusions.

Therefore blood donors should be happy knowing that another person can see another sunrise and spend more time with loved ones – because life-giving blood is something money can’t buy.

Blood donation and cancer awareness

Experts say that humans benefit greatly from blood donations and cancer awareness month is a reminder that women and parents must be vigilant and ensure that annual check-ups are done.

Every day we are reminded not to ignore a fever that cannot be explained. Indeed, our physicians always advise us that anyone may experience aches and pains. Pain can sometimes be an early symptom of some cancers. Most pain complaints, though, are not from cancer.

Any pain that persists should be checked out by a physician. After all, there are more than 100 types of cancer, including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and lymphoma. Cancer symptoms vary widely based on the type of cancer. Cancer treatment includes chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

That is why working with the health sector and Department of Labour, companies create awareness on different types of cancers and the importance of early detection and treatment.

Blood transfusion is also key during treatment as it is required in some cases. Therefore, companies who also run their own blood donation drives can help in case of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

That is why the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) aims to collect an average of 3 000 units of blood every day nationally by relying on voluntary blood donors to donate while observing all Covid-19 protocols.

It is through blood drives at companies, organisations and institutions that the SANBS is able to achieve this collection target.

Blood donations and cancer awareness helps medical institutions that are focusing on this area, including academic hospitals such as Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre, and the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, among others.

It is also important that we donate blood for blood transfusions which will enable these hospitals to save more lives.

It is with this in mind that the FP&M SETA has partnered with the South African National Blood Service to periodically host blood donation drives in Joburg, Durban and Cape Town.

Also as part of our corporate social investment, discussions are at an advanced stage to partner with some academic hospitals to support research, development and innovation.

Ensuring safe and donation

Giving blood is safe because a number of procedures are followed to ensure safe and secure donations. A new needle is used for each blood donation and safety techniques are adhered to, preventing the possibility of contracting blood diseases and infections.

The importance of voluntary blood donation cannot be undermined and more people should become regular blood donors because the requirement for blood transfusions is really high. More people should volunteer to donate because blood transfusions saves lives.

Save a life

Doctors say it does not take much time for the human body to replace the donated blood. White blood cells are recovered in five days and red blood cells in 21 days and everyone could safely donate blood after three months.

Everyone has the most precious natural resource of all: blood. Our blood is replaceable. A life is not. So roll up your sleeve and save a life. Donate blood.

* Dr Felleng Yende is CEO of the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing, FP&M SETA, which facilitates skills development programmes for 13 sub-sectors and regularly hosts blood donation drives.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL and Independent Media.

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