HEALTH & FITNESS

A daughter’s plight for blood donors to save her mother’s life

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If you would like to donate blood and are blood type B+ please contact Linda on +260 97 7412624

The above is a statement from a young lady whose mother is in critical condition and in need of blood. If you have the blood type B+ please get in touch by contacting Linda on +260 97 7412624; your donation will save her mother’s life. If you are unsure of your blood type, and would still like to donate, please make your way to the UTH blood bank which is open 24 hours a day, and the nurses will assist you through the process as a test is required to determine if the blood type is a match. Either way, if it happens you are not a match, we encourage you to still donate, as there are many in need of blood, and the more we can give, the more lives we will save. This is an act that costs nothing to the donor; but it is worth everything to the recipient.

It is a known fact, that people of ethnic minority around the world have a stigma on the transfusion of blood. Many due to myths tied to witchcraft and spirits of the dead. However due to information technology and the growth in health education more and more individuals and families have been sensitised on the benefits of becoming blood donors, and the positive impact it has on life expectancy in general. It is not a secret however on how important donating blood is, and the amount of lives that are saved everyday due to blood transfusions. Many are unaware that with majority of operations conducted on individuals who are admitted into hospitals for a number of reasons, be it a motor vehicle accident, cancer, child birth, and several other illnesses, blood transfusions are required to keep the individual alive. Therefore when critical issues are at hand such as this young lady who lost her Father when she was only a toddler, you cannot help but feel so much compassion as she watches her mother’s health deteriorate knowing that a simple blood donation would be what saves her life.
In places like Zambia where equipment and options are limited, it is important that more resources are made available in order to better educate and create awareness of the importance of donating blood, as it saves lives. Many have lost their lives prematurely due to the lack of blood donors, and this can easily be eradicated if more individuals would step forward and give their blood. It is painless and costs you nothing.

For those unsure about how blood donations work, here is a breakdown to ease your minds and perhaps encourage you to give today.

Blood Donation Process

Donating blood is a safe and simple procedure that is not only rewarding, but helps save countless lives. The entire process takes approximately 45 minutes with the actual blood donation taking approximately 6 to 10 minutes within the 45 minute time frame.

Before You Donate

To donate blood, all you need to do is go to the 24 hour UTH blood bank, or your nearest hospital or clinic in your town that conducts blood donations.

When You Arrive at UTH/Health Centre

Whilst there; certain things will be checked to ensure you are fit enough to qualify as a donor. This includes your weight, your general health and your age. Other requirements will be your proof of identification and any health concerns you might have.

Other things to expect.

  • Fill in a donor registration form, if any.

Pre-Donation Screening

  • During a pre-donation screening, a nurse will ask you some questions which the answers to will be kept confidential, about your health, lifestyle, and disease risk factors.
  • A minor health exam will be conducted by the nurse, this is the taking of your temperature, blood pressure and pulse.
  • A drop of blood from your finger will also be tested to ensure that your blood iron level is sufficient for you to donate. All medical equipment used for this test, as well as during the donation process, is sterile, used only once and then disposed of.

Blood Donation

  • Once the pre-donation screening is complete, you will be directed to the section for the procedure of your donation to commence. Your arm will be cleaned with an antiseptic, and a nurse will use a blood donation kit to draw blood from a vein in your arm. If you are allergic to iodine, be sure to make this known at the pre-donation screening.
  • During the donation process, you will donate one unit of blood; this takes about six to ten minutes.

Post-Donation

  • Immediately after your donation, it is highly recommended that you have something to replenish in order to regain some strength from the drawn blood.
  • After donating, it is recommended that you increase your fluid intake for the next 24 to 48 hours; avoid strenuous physical exertion, heavy lifting or pulling with the donation arm for about five hours; and eat well-balanced meals for the next 24 hours. After donating, smoking and alcohol consumption is not recommended
  • Although rare after donating, if you feel light-headed, lie down until the feeling passes. If some bleeding occurs after removal of the bandage, apply pressure to the site and raise your arm for three to five minutes. If bruising or bleeding appears under the skin, apply a cold pack periodically to the bruised area during the first 24 hours, then warm, moist heat intermittently.
  • If you have any questions concerning your donation or experience any unexpected problems, please contact UTH or the clinic and hospital within your area where your donation was conducted.

Information sourced with aid from AABB

Below is a comprehensive resource on blood donations by The World Health Organisation

 

Blood donor selection (Source World Health Organisation)

Guidelines on assessing donor suitability for blood donation

blood donor selection

Publication details

Number of pages: 238
Languages: English
ISBN: 978 92 4 154851 9

Downloads

SOURCE: World Health Organisation

These WHO guidelines, Blood donor selection on assessing donor suitability for blood donation have been developed to assist blood transfusion services in countries that are establishing or strengthening national systems for the selection of blood donors. They are designed for use by policy makers in national blood programmes in ministries of health, national advisory bodies such as national blood commissions or councils, and blood transfusion services.

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