Blood donations save lives, but few South Africans donate blood on a regular basis

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Blood donation is an essential treatment for many life-threatening conditions.South Africa needs around 810,000 A unit of blood every year. People in need of blood transfusions include victims of accidents, patients with anemia, and patients undergoing surgery.But Less than 1% South Africans are active blood donors. That is, there is a regular shortage of supply. Glenda Mary Davison, a medical scientist with a special interest in hematological malignancies, immunology, and inflammation, reveals the blood donation process in South Africa.

What happens to the blood between donations and transfusions?

Before donationDonors who wish to donate blood will receive mini-medical care to ensure that they can donate blood in a healthy and safe manner. This includes blood pressure measurements and filling out health questionnaires. Blood is then taken to test for HIV and other infections. Donation of 480 ml of blood is completed in just 10 minutes. The finished blood is placed on ice and taken to the Blood Services Headquarters for processing along with a blood test. donor Record — Stored anonymously throughout the process. Here, the donated blood is centrifuged and separated into three components: red blood cells, platelets, and plasma.

Red blood cells supply oxygen to the tissues of the body and are used to treat patients who have lost large amounts of blood due to bleeding or severe anemia. After removing the remaining white blood cells, the red blood cells are stored in the refrigerator for up to 42 days or until the patient needs them.

The second product is platelets. These are very small blood cells that are essential for preventing blood loss and stopping bleeding. It is prescribed for the treatment of patients with extremely low platelet count during chemotherapy, patients with blood cancer such as leukemia, and patients who have undergone bone marrow transplantation. After removing the white blood cells, the isolated platelets are stored at room temperature for up to 5 days, constantly agitated and kept in suspension until needed.

The third component is plasma. This is the straw-colored part of the blood and contains no cells. Plasma is used to treat a variety of illnesses, including burns, liver disease and infections. Plasma can be cryopreserved and stored for up to 1 year before use. Another product that can be extracted from fresh frozen plasma is Clioprecipitate, a component rich in coagulation factors. It is important in the treatment of hemophilia and often causes life-threatening bleeding.

After processing, when blood products are needed, they are distributed to a hospital with a blood bank and continue to wait until they are needed to save lives.

What are the uses of blood donation other than blood donation?

Most blood is used for blood transfusion therapy. However, other valuable products can be manufactured from plasma.

Albumin is one of the products that can be used to treat patients with shock, burns and low protein levels. Freeze-dried coagulation factors can also be extracted and used as a life-saving treatment for patients with bleeding disorders.

Antibodies made by the immune system to fight infections circulate in the plasma. They can be concentrated and used to treat infections or given to people who cannot make their own.

Why are so few South Africans donating blood?

Despite its life-saving properties Blood donationBenefits more than 800,000 people each year, but few South Africans donate blood on a regular basis.Other Country Germany, US, Russia, China, etc. pay donors. However, donating blood in South Africa is voluntary. This ensures that individuals donate not for material gain but for the purpose of saving their lives. This practice reduces the risk of unsafe or infected blood products.

Prior to 2005, testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases was done using antibody testing and rapid antigen testing. This had the drawback that the virus was not detected when the donor was in the hospital. “Window period” Or the early stages of infection. For this reason, the criteria for becoming a donor were very strict. High-risk groups, such as drug users and those with dangerous sexual activity, were not encouraged to become donors.

since then, Blood donation Guaranteed to analyze each blood donation using an accurate nucleic acid test, dramatically improving the safety of blood donations.Is Numbers Since then, the number of blood donors, especially in Africa, has increased. However, there is still a long way to go. Especially on holidays, traffic accidents occur frequently, and blood donors often go out on holidays and run out of blood.

Is Reason Hesitation to donate is complex, including fear of needles, fear of discovering hidden illnesses, and lack of consciousness. But what is unique to South Africa is the perception of distrust and racism, and as a result, the donor pool is not representative of the population.most Donor It is of European descent.

Previous policies to prevent HIV-infected donations have profiled donors by gender and ethnicity. These policies have changed. However, the negative perception does not disappear.many believe Blood products from African donors, especially those containing cells, are discarded and are not used.

What can more South Africans do to become regular donors?

In order for South Africa to provide safe, efficient and well-resourced blood services, it is necessary to recruit blood donors representing the entire population. It is important to promote awareness and education to dispel fear of donations. The campaign must be aimed at regaining the trust of previously marginalized groups.

South African National Blood Service and Western Cape Blood Service Marketing campaign Targeting young people on a variety of platforms.

I still need a lot of work, To increase To blood Donors for all demographic groups. Blood donation is a way of making a difference, and saving lives should be the most important motivation.

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Blood donations save lives, but few South Africans donate blood on a regular basis

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