The number of active blood donors, people who have committed to living a healthy lifestyle and donating blood regularly, has increased by 28% since the first blood drive held at the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) in the Pretoria region. This year the churches in Pretoria, Mamelodi and Soshanguve invited members to donate life-saving blood and more than six hundred people attended the three blood drives.
At each of the blood drives, held in March, May and August, the donation target of 150 units requested by the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) was exceeded with the most recent blood drive collecting 173 units of blood. As each unit of safe blood can save the lives of up to three people, we can make the assumption that blood donated from church members has saved 1 488 peoples' lives.
Willem van der Merwe, Head of Marketing at SANBS Northern Zone, said: "SANBS relies on blood from regular donors because it is significantly less likely to be contaminated with transmittable diseases. This safe blood can be used for medical emergencies and procedures within 24 hours of the donation. At SANBS, every unit of blood is tested in our state-of the-art laboratories to ensure it is completely safe for transmission. Blood from active donors is particularly valuable specially when national blood stocks are low."
Ivor Hobbs, SANBS Marketing Consultant, reported: "Response from the UCKG in the Pretoria region is very encouraging. The increasing number of donors in the younger age groups will ensure long term sustainability of this relationship with the church."
The number of donors in the age range 16-19 years reflects an increase of 38% from the first to the second blood drive and an overall increase of 61.5% from March to August. This is a positive reflection of the attitude of members of the UCKG youth group to contributing to society in a practical way and their decision to live a sexually safe lifestyle. Donors in the age group 20 - 25 increased by 9.7% during the year with the largest increase in the 31-40 age group which increased 100% from March to August.
Nametso Mofokeng, public relations officer at UCKG said: "At each clinic we are encouraged by the increasing numbers of members willing to donate blood and that both men and women are making their blood available for others. At the church, our work is to save souls and we are delighted to work with SANBS and help save lives through these blood donation clinics."
The final blood drive for 2012 in the Pretoria region will be held at the UCKG in Andries Street on Saturday 3 November. Donors can safely give a unit of blood four times a year and all active donors, as well as new donors, are encouraged to attend this event ahead of the year-end holiday season.
Donors need to be between 16 and 65 years old, weigh more than 50kg and live a sexually safe lifestyle. Additional information is available on the SANBS website www.sanbs.org.za.
For further information, please contact Nametso Mofokeng at the church's public relations department on 011 224 3400 or email . SANBS can also be contacted on 0800 11 90 31.