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WHY DONATE BLOOD      

 Saving lives is easy

 

Blood is precious. Sometimes, it’s the only ‘medicine’ that can help a patient to recover. That is why it is so very important to ensure that safe blood is available for patients when they need it.

 

Good reasons to donate blood

 

  • Blood saves lives.

Every unit of blood donated can be separated into its constituent parts and used to enhance the lives of at least 3 patients.

 

  • There’s no substitute.

Unfortunately, there is no known substitute for blood. Only real blood will do.

 

  • It’s a good cause.

Giving doesn’t get much better than this. You save lives!

 

  • Blood is almost always in short supply.

Because the need for blood is so unpredictable, we’re always one day away from running out...

 

A mere 0.8%of our population donates blood, so more new donors are always needed!


 

How donated blood is used

Donated blood is divided into blood products, which are issued to patients according to their specific needs. The main blood products are red cell concentrates; plateletconcentrates and fresh frozen plasma. That is why, one donation can potentially save three lives!

 

What are the different blood products used for?

 

  • Concentrated red cells

Red blood cells carry oxygen. Red cell concentrates are therefore transfused into patients who have lost a lot of blood or who are unable to produce enough red cells of their own. E.g. Trauma-victims (accidents); surgery patients; those who suffer from severe anaemia; and those whose red blood cells do not function properly.

 

  • Platelet concentrates

Platelets assist in controlling bleeding and is primarily used in the treatment of people with various cancers. Diseases such as leukaemia and medical treatments like chemotherapy can decrease a person’s platelet count. If the number of platelets becomes too low, spontaneous bleeding can occur. Even a small amount of bleeding can be dangerous, particularly if it occurs in the brain. Find out more about donating platelets.

 

  • Fresh frozen plasma:

Plasma is the most versatile blood component and contains clotting factors that prevent bleeding. It is given to patients with bleeding tendencies, including burn victims and patients with bleeding disorders. It is also used to create immunisations and helps haemophiliacs.

 

Blood has a short shelf life

 

All blood products have a short shelf life, creating the need for a constant blood supply.

  • Platelets lasts up to 5 days
  • Red cells last up to 42 days
  • Plasma (when frozen) can last up to 1 year

 

Interested in donating blood?

 

  • Find out if you are eligible to donate blood
  • Locate a donation clinic near you

 

Different types of blood donations

Regular ‘whole blood donations’
If you are between the ages of 16 – 65, weigh more than 50 kg, lead a sexually safe lifestyle, enjoy general good health, and want to help people, then whole blood donations are for you.

It takes 30 minutes every two months and you can donate at a mobile clinic or donation centre near you.

Your donation will be screened and then divided into blood products, which are created from the pre-existing blood components in your blood and given to patients based on their specific medical needs. With a single donation, potentially 3 lives can be saved.


Apheresis platelets donations
If you are a regular blood donor and you have given blood more than 4 x times, have a high platelet count, live in Windhoek and have a flexible schedule, then you should consider becoming an Apheresis / Platelet donor.


This procedure takes between one and two hours to complete and is only offered at the NamBTS Head Office and Donation Centre, located in Tal Street, Windhoek. The procedure extracts plasma and platelets from the donation and transfers the donor’s red blood cells back to him/her. This means that the body recovers far more quickly and that donors can therefore donate once per month or 12 times per year.

FAQ – Why donate blood

Why should I give blood?
Blood is vital to life and for many people blood donors are their lifeline. Currently only 0.8% of our population donates blood, but 1 in 3 people will need blood in their lifetime.There is also no known substitute for blood and it cannot be replicated due to its complexity. Although lost blood volume can be temporarily replaced by synthetic solutions in trauma situations, these do not contain the necessary constituents to sustain the patient. Donor blood can (and often does) mean the difference between life and death.

Who does donated blood help? 
It is sometimes thought that the majority of donated blood helps those involved in accidents and emergencies. However, most of the blood is used to treat mothers during pregnancy and birth complications, those suffering from cancer, patients undergoing surgery and those with other serious illnesses. Read more

How many donations are needed every month? 
Every month, Namibia requires more than 2,800 units of blood.

How many blood donors are there in Namibia and how many donations are made? 
Currently there are just over 18,000 voluntary, unpaid donors in Namibia.
In 2016 the Blood Service collected 32,000 lifesaving donations.