100 pints saves 300 lives

Lifesaver celebrates major milestone

24 January 2020 | Health

Elizabeth Joseph

George van Straten, who recently made his 100th blood donation, has donated blood for more than 30 years and says he will continue doing so for as long as he is able.

While serving as a paramedic, Van Straten saw how much blood donations mean to someone who is in dire need.

“On many occasions, I saw that people needed blood and knowing that someone else’s life is being saved with the little leaving your body is big for me,” he says.

He also mentions that it can be very beneficial to your health because new blood cells are generated every 56 days, so that way he stays healthy while still doing a good deed.

The Blood Transfusion Service of Namibia (NamBTS) says an increased demand for blood products and fewer donations during the holiday season have depleted its blood bank, with only two days’ supply of blood type O available for the entire country.

NamBTS requires a minimum of 2 000 blood donations before the end of January to bolster the blood supply.

There is usually a blood shortage at the beginning of the year, as many donors go on holiday in December while the number of car accidents increases during the festive season.

“Currently, there is a shortage of group O blood,” says Zita Tobin of NamBTS.

“The supply is very low. A healthy level should be six days and higher and we are on two days for group O, which is totally inadequate. This has resulted in rationing of group O positive and O negative blood to hospitals.

“The stock levels of the other blood groups - A, B and AB - are still sufficient, hence we are making an urgent appeal to the public to donate blood, especially blood group O donors,” Tobin says.

For everyone out there who is afraid to donate blood, for whatever reason, Van Straten says that going with someone who has donated blood before can help you overcome the fear that is preventing you from giving this precious gift of life.

“It does hurt to draw blood. However, the reward is so much more worth it,” he says.

The only way to give patients access to this precious life-saving resource is through the selfless act of blood donation. There has never been a better time to donate than now, and a lifesaving donation only takes 30 minutes of your time.

Donors in Windhoek, North and at the Coast can donate at:

35 Tal Street – 07h00-16h00, Windhoek. Tuesday and Thursday 07h00-18h00 United House Building, Independence Avenue from 08h30-16h00 Swakopmund Centre 10:00-18:00 (Monday only) Walvis Bay Centre 10:00-18:00 (Tuesday only) Oshakati Centre 10:00-18:00 (Thursday only)

The basic blood donor criteria require one to:

Be older than 16. Weigh more than 50 kg. Be healthy and feel well on the day of donation. Lead a sexually safe lifestyle.

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