It’s World Blood Donor Day on 14 June. This day aims to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products, and also to thank blood donors for their life-saving gift.
The theme for this year’s Blood Donor Day is “Blood connects us all”. The campaign has three aims: to tell the stories of people whose lives were saved by blood donations, to motivate existing donors to continue giving blood, and to encourage healthy people to become donors.
Blood donation by 1% of the population can meet a nation’s most basic requirement for blood.
What is blood needed for?
It is not only for treatment of accident victims that blood is needed – it is needed for treating life-threatening conditions such as cancer, and for the treatment of inherited blood disorders such as sickle cell disease. It is also used in many different surgical procedures such as orthopaedic and cardiovascular surgeries, as well as organ and marrow transplants. It also has an essential, life-saving role in the care of pregnant mothers in the last five months of their pregnancy and babies in the first month after birth.
Seventy-five percent of the population in the Western Cape may require blood transfusions or blood products at some time during their lives, but only 1.5% are donors, according to the WP Blood Transfusion Service.
Different blood types
There are four different kinds of blood types: A, B, AB and O. Group O blood is the most common and almost half of the population in SA has this type of blood. Not all blood groups are compatible with each other. The rarest blood type is AB negative.
Individuals with O+ and O- blood are known as “universal donors”, as their blood can be given to any other ABO group. Individuals with AB+ blood are known as “universal recipients”, as they are able to receive any other ABO blood type.
Where you can donate blood
Find out more about where and when you can donate blood:
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