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Give Blood and Keep the World Beating

Every year World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on 14 June to raise awareness of the importance of donating blood. Aishah Salie from the Western Cape Blood Service tells us more about blood donation and the importance of it’s role in saving lives.

This year the World Health Organisation (WHO) theme is “Give blood and keep the world beating”, the message highlights the essential contribution blood donors make to keep the world pulsating by saving lives and improving others’ health, with particular focus on encouraging the youth to donate blood.

The Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) is an independent non-profit provincial healthcare organisation that aims to ensure a safe and sustainable blood supply to the Western Cape communities. Their daily objective is to collect 700 units of blood that hospitals use to save patients’ lives. In order to meet the demand for blood, blood donation clinics are hosted at various venues across the Western Cape where donors and potential donors donate blood.

For the past 4 years, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), in collaboration with WCBS, has raised awareness about blood donation within the Muslim community. 

The partnership was formed to ensure sufficient blood stocks during Ramadan and winter months for the Western Cape community. Traditionally, during the winter months, the Service experience a significant drop in blood stocks. This is mainly due to blood donors suffering from colds, coughs and flu.

The fast has coincided with the core winter months for the past few years, putting a further strain on bloodstock during Ramadan. One of the requirements to donate blood is to eat before donating, excluding new or regular donors from giving blood during Ramadan. The MJC and other leading organisations within the media and other influencers collaborated with WCBS to support the Ramadhan Awareness campaign. This took the form of hosting awareness clinics at the MJC Head Office to demonstrate leadership through example. 

Many Ulama and members of the community have shown their support towards the cause of blood donation. The MJC also encouraged Masajid Committee’s to host clinics at the Masajid, which further reinforced our community’s awareness.

Community radio station Voice of the Cape (VOC) have presented their mid-morning shows from the premises and encouraging the community to support the clinic. In addition, as part of this Ramadhan Awareness campaign, WCBS recorded its very first radio advertisement targeted at the Muslim community. This aired on both VOC and Radio786 community radio stations. 

To make it accessible for donors to donate before the fast, clinics were hosted at shopping centres a few weeks before the start of Ramadan. The importance of blood donation and saving lives was re-iterated at several mosques during the Friday’ Jumuah’ prayers.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reminds us:

Anas RA reports that the Prophet PBHU said: ‘The entire creation (mankind) is the family of Allaah and the most beloved amongst them to Allaah are those who benefit His slaves the most.

Here are links to important sources of information

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNoZ3aoYAYjX2SsbcvjDfQA

The below is a link to a youtube video of our collaboration with the MJC.

Here is a video on how blood donation work during the COVID-19 pandemic

To access our social media sites – please look for the handles on the top of our website page

Below is more information regarding blood donation during Covid-19.

Blood Donation during COVID-19

The Western Cape Blood Service would like to assure all blood donors that donating blood is safe. There is currently no reason to suspect that COVID-19 can be transmitted through blood transfusion. This is based on the fact that respiratory viruses, in general, are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus.

COVID-19 Protocols for blood donation clinics 

Blood donor screening, which includes a COVID-19 risk assessment questionnaire and temperature checks of all staff and potential donors, are in place to prevent individuals who may be at risk of clinical respiratory infections from donating blood. 

As part of our safety protocols:

  • Our clinic staff maintain a high level of hand hygiene.
  • Staff sanitise their hands regularly by washing their hands with soap and water in addition to using hand sanitiser before and after each encounter with a donor. 
  • Hand sanitiser is readily available for donors to use at each clinic. 
  • All staff wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).  
  • Social distancing is adhered to by queue control, reducing the number of beds at a clinic and limiting the number of blood donors at any given time.  

Blood Groups Appeal 

The WCBS is currently experiencing a shortage of O and B+ blood groups. Therefore, we would like to encourage all healthy existing and potential blood donors who fulfil the basic donor criteria to continue donating blood.

The WCBS urges donors to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of fellow citizens. If you are feeling unwell or exhibiting any clinical symptoms of infection (fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and shortness of breath), you are requested to delay donating blood until you are in good health.

By Aishah Salie
Western Cape Blood Services Marketing Manager

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