Vodacom helps blood service go mobile

8 July 2009

The Vodacom Foundation is providing three state-of-the-art mobile blood collection clinics, together worth R1.27-million, to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), to enable it to extend its services in the Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Free State provinces.

The self-contained mobile clinics also serve as mobile billboards, creating awareness in remote communities that blood transfusion can be done safely and efficiently.

“Blood donations save thousands of lives each year,” Vodacom Foundation CEO Mthobi Tyamzashe said at the handover of one of the mobile clinics at the Riverside Mall in Nelspruit late last month.

“Through the donation of three mobile clinics, the Vodacom Foundation is delighted to support the SANBS in broadening its outreach into communities by creating awareness of its services, and encouraging people to donate blood.”

Blood donation culture

According to the SANBS, only one percent of South Africa’s estimated 48-million population donates blood, and the culture of blood donation in some population groups is almost non-existent.

The organisation says that there is a strong need for initiatives aimed at improving this situation in order to promote blood donation in South Africa.

The requirements for becoming a blood donor are to weigh 50kg or more, be between the ages of 16 and 65, and lead a sexually safe lifestyle.

Transfusion ‘every 48 seconds’

A blood transfusion takes place every 48 seconds in South Africa, with the highest need being for Group O blood, as this blood can be given to any patient in an emergency. To meet the demand for blood in South Africa, 3&nbps;000 units need to be collected daily, or 811 828 units annually.

The blood is used for medical cases (27%), childbirth and gynaecological cases (26%), surgical cases (21%), paediatric cases (10%), orthopaedic cases (6%), research/laboratory (6%) and casualty (4%).

“The SANBS appreciates the Vodacom Foundation’s invaluable funding of three mobile clinics which will expedite blood collection,” said SANBS chief executive Loyiso Mpunthsa. “On many occasions, the country runs short of blood, and the vehicles will help ensure greater efficiency in the collection of blood for those in dire need of it.”

A non-profit organisation, the SANBS has 87 fixed donation centres and 65 mobile clinics that operate at schools, tertiary institutions, businesses and shopping centres.

SAinfo reporter

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