During June the Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) celebrates National Blood Donor month, with the 14th of June being World Blood Donor Day.  During this month WCBS endeavours to raise awareness about the importance of blood donation.

The theme for this year’s World Blood Donor Day is ‘Safe blood saves lives’ and is underlined by the slogan ‘Give blood and make the world a healthier place’. “This theme highlights the fact that one person can make a positive difference to others in the community,” says Michelle Vermeulen, Planning, Promotions and PR Manager for WCBS.  This campaign calls on people from all over the world to become life-savers by volunteering to donate blood regularly.

National Blood Donor month falls within the winter months and this can be a particularly difficult time for blood collection.  The WCBS therefore appeals to everyone who fulfils the basic donor criteria to come and donate blood.  There is a significant drop in our O-, B+ and B- blood groups and we are asking donors belonging to these blood groups to urgently donate blood. If you are between the ages of 16 and 75, weigh more than 50kg, are healthy on the day of donation and lead a safe sexual lifestyle you should be able to donate blood.  Visit www.wcbs.org.za, call 021 507 6300 or SMS ‘Blood’ to 33507 to find out where to donate.

WCBS would also like to reassure donors that it remains safe to donate blood and that the safety of our staff and blood donors remain our top priorities.  We have implemented additional precautionary measures since the outbreak of COVID-19 and we remain vigilant to ensure ongoing safety at each of our blood donation clinics and at our offices.

Linking to this theme the WCBS is partnering with the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) to collect plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19.  “The plasma from these donors contains antibodies directed towards the Coronavirus that can be transfused into hospitalised COVID-19 patients to hopefully assist them to fight their infection,” says Dr Caroline Hilton, Transfusion Medical Specialist.  “We are participating in a clinical trial to be conducted in certain hospitals in the country, to find out whether this type of treatment works.  People interested in donating plasma should register on the SANBS COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Donor Registry and if they fulfil the acceptance criteria, they will be contacted. Currently we are recruiting males and only females who have never been pregnant, as these donors are more likely to have a less complex antibody profile,” Dr Hilton continued saying.  For more information about convalescent plasma collection please visit  https://sanbs.org.za/convalescent-plasma-donor/.