Bethlehem participants save lives by donating blood
Donating a unit of blood can save up to three lives of patients in need. Becoming a regular blood donor ensures that safe levels of blood supply are maintained and makes it possible for the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) to store sufficient blood to meet the demand.
Two participants from the Bethlehem Bravo Team noted the decline in fire activity in their area and, having been informed of the shortage of blood at the start of the festive season last year, decided to save lives another way. Despite having to walk approximately four kilometres to and from the local SANBS centre, Rantho Mofokeng and Makhehlerie Mtimkulu became blood donors.
According to the staff members at the SANBS Bethlehem branch it is quite safe to donate blood. Their personnel use new, sterile and disposable equipment (blood bags, tubes and needles) for each donation. These are used only once for every blood donation, and then removed in a special waste container and incinerated. These safety measures ensure that donors are not exposed to transmissible diseases when donating blood.
Further safety measures include a test to ensure that the donor’s haemoglobin level is within a safe range for donation purposes. In addition, the pulse rate and blood pressure will be checked. Donors must also weigh at least 50kg, be between 16 and 65 years of age and in good health. Potential donors will be permitted to donate only if these measurements are within the defined acceptable range.
“On behalf of the SANBS we would like to thank the two Working on Fire participants for coming today and donating their precious lifesaving blood,” said Rochelle van der Merwe, the SAN BS Public Relations Officer. “Their donation today is especially important because during the festive season we see a decline in people donating blood due to schools and businesses closing. So we would like to encourage everybody to come and donate as blood is needed on a daily basis.”