Western Cape Government Health Urges Citizens to Become Blood Donors
Western Cape Government Health purchases blood products to the value of R13 million per month from Western Province Blood Transfusion Services. The purchase is for about 20 000 blood products on a monthly basis. The projected expenditure for this financial year is R156 million.
These are some the statistics that the Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, mentioned in his opening address to the National Blood Transfusion Congress held at the Lord Charles Hotel, Somerset West, on 1 October 2013. The audience was from all over the world, and included trade partners and delegates of pharmaceutical companies.
The Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) offers a routine, scheduled courier service, free of charge, for the transportation of blood and blood products to selected public sector hospitals, where high volumes of blood and blood products are used. These four scheduled courier trips are offered on a daily basis, including weekends and public holidays. In the Western Cape there are three hospitals with blood banks on site – Tygerberg Hospital, Groote Schuur Hospital and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.
WPBTS offers a service whereby emergency blood banks (fridges) are placed at facilities, hospitals as well as community health centres. These fridges are stocked with units of O positive and O negative blood, which can be used in an emergency. The stock levels and maintenance of the fridges are done by WPBTS. Western Cape Government Health Facilities that benefit from this zero cost service are Karl Bremer Hospital, New Somerset hospital, Khayelitsha Hospital, Mitchell’s Plain Hospital, GF Jooste Hospital, Mowbray Maternity Hospital and Victoria Hospital.
In his address, Minister Botha said: “There is an excellent working relationship between Western Cape Government Health and WPBTS. At present the service has approximately 67 000 regular blood donors, but the demand is growing fast. The number of regular blood donors in the province need to increase by approximately 5% this year to ensure we will remain sustainable and able to meet demand.”
Criteria for new blood donors are that they should:
• be between 16 and 65 years
• weigh more than 50kgs
• be in good medical health
• lead a sexually safe lifestyle