When is the next time you’ll be sick? What illness will you suffer from? The unpredictability of future events often leaves us at the mercy of fate. However, while we cannot predict the future, we can prepare for it. Sickness is not planned, so too is shortage of blood. But these things happen whether or not we want them to. How then can we prepare for cases of blood shortage (anaemia)?
Did you know that every two seconds, someone is in the need of blood? A pine of blood can actually save around 3lives! (American Red Cross) This reality is part of what motivated Miss Fashion Festival Africa 2022’s (MFFA) second runner up, Veren Marie K., to launch a free blood donation campaign. Miss Veren began this project as an implementation of her project titled “Beauty at the service of my community for good health and well being.” During her latest campaign (27th and 28th of May 2023), volunteers donated 7pines of blood, and more donors are still expected.
The chief of Transfusions Team for the North West Region, Simon Njoya, says that Veren’s campaign has saved many lives. He further explains that, “more of such initiatives should be encouraged,” given that there are several medical cases which require blood transfusion.
WHO NEEDS BLOOD?
“I live beside the regional hospital in Bamenda, I have heard of people who die due to lack of blood in the blood bank. Even during my internship as a nursing student, I witnessed a lot of cases of patients in need of blood.” Says the young model. She laments that the suffering and death she witnessed due to blood shortage was very disheartening.
According to the American Red Cross, in every 2seconds, someone is in need of blood. This includes:
- pregnant women with complications
- patients with kidney problems undergoing dialyses
- accident victims
- Surgical patients
- Cancer patient
- Children with severe anaemia.
(testimony from beneficiary)
WHO CAN DONATE BLOOD?
It’s good to want to save a life by donating your blood, but not everyone can donate blood. To donate blood:
- You should be between 18-65years of age
- Weigh at least 50kg
- You must be healthy (even minor infections like sore throat and cough are considered hazards)
- If you recently had a body piercing or tattoo, you can only donate blood 6months after.
- Breast feeding mothers and pregnant women cannot donate blood. For breast feeding mothers, they should wait for a period of 3months after weaning the baby, before donating blood.
- If you undergo a minor dental procedure, wait for 24hours before donating blood.
With blood donation, the “I’m no one’s type” cliché is out of place. Everyone is someone’s type. Here is a summary of blood groups and compatibility. It shows which blood can give blood to which, and which group can receive from which.
– WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BLOOD DONATION
Why donate my blood? Should a family member of mine be in need of blood, will they be given blood too? How will donating blood help me? These are some the questions Veren says are raised by some of the people she approaches.
Blood donation is advantageous not only to recipients but donors as well. While it saves the life of the recipient, what does it do for the donor?
*Regular blood donation reduces the risk of cancer. This is because it helps take out excess iron from the body.
*Potential donors undergo a series of free blood tests. This enables them to know their health status and facilitates detection of any viruses or potential health threats.
* frequent blood donation helps to reduce heart problems as it engenders lower blood pressure.
*donating blood also helps to detoxify the liver
*it also promotes good mental health. Blood donation is an act of selflessness which lowers risk of depression and increase the life span of the recipient.
BARRIERS TO BLOOD DONATION
A good number of persons shy away from voluntary donation on the grounds that, the blood will later on be sold to patients. This NOT TRUE. BLOOD IS NOT SOLD. The money which patients are required to pay before being given blood, is not to buy the blood. This money is used to pay for the tests which had been conducted on the donor, as well as the anti-coagulant used to preserve the blood.
About having to buy blood for relatives, donors need not worry about it. As a regular blood donor, if your relative is in need of blood transfusion, your blood donors card entitles them one free pine of blood.
WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING ON TH 14th OF JUNE 2023?
Every year, on the 14th of June, the world celebrates Blood Donor Day. To make this day memorable, the humanitarian Model, Veren, expresses her desire for the population of Bamenda especially blood donors to join the team from the Regional Hospital Bamenda in its activities for that day.
- World Health Organisation, 2022, Guidelines On Assessing Donor Suitability
- World Health Organisation, 2022, Blood Products: Blood Donation.