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Donate blood before you go!

Dr Bjorn Graf von Finckenstein, Medical Director of the Namibian Blood Transfusion Service at the launch of the “Donate Before You Go,” campaign last week. (Photograph by Mandisa Rasmeni)

Dr Bjorn Graf von Finckenstein, Medical Director of the Namibian Blood Transfusion Service at the launch of the “Donate Before You Go,” campaign last week. (Photograph by Mandisa Rasmeni)

The Namibian Blood Transfusion Service and the Programme for Accelerating the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PARMaCM) launched a six-week long “Donate Before You Go” campaign on last week to ensure an adequate blood supply for the 2014 festive season.
The medical director of the blood transfusion service, former politician and Windhoek Mayor, Dr Bjorn Graf von Finckenstein, emphasised that the reason for the campaign is to ensure an adequate blood supply during the holidays when donors are few and the need is high. He said during the festive season blood stock levels are often low and urgent access to safe blood supply is crucial to save the lives of patients. “Therefore tell all your friends and family to donate blood to save lives. They might also need blood themselves,” reiterated the good doctor.

Dr Islam, the representative of the World Health Organization in Namibia stated that the lack of access to safe blood is responsible for the deaths of thousands of childbearing women each year globally and that severe bleeding during pregnancy, delivery and after childbirth is the single biggest cause of maternal death and can kill a healthy woman within two hours if she is unattended.
To ensure a sufficient blood stock, the “Donate Before You Go” campaign encourages the public to donate a collective 5400 units before Christmas, a reachable target if new and existing donors pull together to make sure that lives will be saved, the blood transfusion service said, pointing out that since blood can not be manufactured, patients can only receive the necessary blood products through a selfless gift given by blood donors.
At the launch, the blood transfusion service and PARMaCM urged the Namibian public to donate blood before they go on holiday. Donors should be older then 16 years, weigh more than 50kg, lead a sexually safe lifestyle and enjoy general good health. Donors are encouraged to eat a balanced meal within 3to 4 hours of attending a clinic. All blood is screened for suitability and type.
As Dr von Finckenstein said “It may be holiday, but babies will be born, accidents can happen, loved ones might be lost, so please Donate Blood Before You Go on holiday. Who knows, you may need it yourself.”

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