Donating Blood Saves Lives

(Western Cape Government)
Summary

Save a Life Today

learners 

 

Donating blood is a simple, lifesaving act and is not nearly as difficult or scary as it may seem. Every day thousands of people need blood transfusions and, by donating blood, you too can help save a life.

 

June is commemorated nationally in South Africa as Blood Donor Month, with a global Blood Donor Day celebration on 14 June for the millions of people who voluntarily donate blood on a regular basis. The theme of this year's World Blood Donor Day campaign is "Safe blood for saving mothers".

If you're in the Western Cape and want to donate blood during June or at any other time, you can contact either the South African National Blood Services (SANBS) or the Western Province Blood Transfusion Services for further information.

Who Needs Blood?

Here are just a few categories of people who may need a blood transfusion:

  • Accident victims.
  • Women haemorrhaging due to pregnancy complications.
  • Children with severe anaemia.
  • Surgical and cancer patients.

Why Should You Donate Blood?

Any healthy person can become a blood donor - you are not restricted by your race, gender or financial standing. The only requirement you have is making the effort to get up and go to donate blood. With this one small action, you could help save the life of a person in need of a blood transfusion.

Donating your blood ensures that services like the SANBS and the WP Blood Transfusion Services have enough supply in case of emergencies.

World Blood Donor Month is held to appreciate those who already donate blood, to raise awareness about the need for healthy blood and to encourage people to donate blood on a regular basis.

What do You Need to Become a Blood Donor?

Here are the basic requirements you need to meet to become a blood donor:

  • You must weigh at least 50kg.
  • You must be between the ages of 16 and 65.
  • You should have a healthy lifestyle.
  • You need to lead a sexually safe lifestyle.
  • Your blood must be considered safe and healthy for donating.

How do You Donate Blood?

Donating blood is a safe and simple procedure that takes about 30 minutes. All needles are new and sterile, and are used only once and incinerated after use. For further information and to donate, you can go to your nearest WP Blood Transfusion Services or SANBS transfusion centre.

Upon donation, you will:

  • Complete a questionnaire concerning your personal details.
  • Answer questions relating to your health and social behaviour.
  • Undergo a one-on-one interview as a follow-up to your answers.
  • Have your iron (haemoglobin) level checked, as well as your blood pressure and pulse rate.
  • Be allowed to donate one unit of blood (480ml); refreshments will be provided to replace lost fluid.

However, before donating blood, the following tips should be noted:

  • Eat a balanced meal at least four hours before you donate.
  • Check whether you are eligible to donate.

Should you feel unwell after the donation or think you may have an infection, you will be able to contact the nearest donor clinic for assistance.

Where Can You Go to Donate Blood?

SANBS centres are located all over the country and all of their procedures and screenings are safe. Your blood will be provided to individuals in need of a transfusion. In addition, Western Province Blood Transfusion Services centres are also widely available.

The content on this page was last updated on 4 December 2014