More than 200 members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) in the Pretoria region supported the second blood drive, again exceeding the donation target set by the South African National Blood Services (SANBS). As each unit of safe blood can save three lives, blood collected at the two mobile clinics could save almost 1 000 lives.
UCKG has been working with SANBS for more than a year, hosting blood drives in Johannesburg, Soweto and Pretoria. Now with thousands of registered donors from the church, members are playing a significant social responsibility role in helping those in need of a life-giving donation of safe blood.
Willem van der Merwe, head of marketing at SANBS Northern Zone said: "When we receive donations, our first priority is to make sure that the blood will not cause any harm to the patient who receives it and then to ensure that no harm comes to the person making the donation. Worldwide it is an excepted truth that the blood from donors who donate regularly is significantly less likely to be contaminated with transfusion transmissible diseases. This is because these donors have made a commitment towards their community and understand the significance of what they are doing. We want to encourage all the UCKG donors to make this commitment and donate regularly."
SANBS reports that blood donated at mobile clinics during 2012 has been largely from first time donors. Although this is encouraging in that the number of donors is increasing through new donors participating in blood drives, it is important to retain these donors and encourage them to become active regular donors who give blood more than once a year. Donors can safely give a unit of blood four times a year.
Statistics from the first two blood drives reflect a total number of 323 safe donors with 74 being regular active donors. Blood from these donors can be used for medical emergencies and procedures within 24 hours of the donation. 214 units were from first time donors and 35 were lapsed donors who responded to the request for help and returned to give blood.
Nametso Mofokeng, public relations officer at UCKG said: "It is extremely encouraging that the majority of donors (173) were between 20 and 30 years of age. If these people commit to becoming regular donors, they will help ensure there is sufficient safe blood throughout the year. 31 donors were teenagers, again a gratifying indication that young people are embracing selfless service to others in a spirit of Ubuntu. 79 donors were between the ages of 31 and 50 with 40 being older than 51 years. The split between men and women was fairly even with 139 men and 184 women donating blood."
Donors need to be between 16 and 65 years old, weigh more than 50kg and live a sexually safe lifestyle. As June is blood donor month and 14 June is World Blood Donor Day, lapsed donors or anyone wishing to become a donor, is invited to contact SANBS to ascertain where their nearest clinic is situated or visit the website www.sanbs.co.za.
For further information, please contact Nametso Mofokeng at the church's public relations department on 011 224 3400 or email .