File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Today marks World Blood Donor Day under the theme “safe blood for all”.

During this month, the Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) endeavours to raise awareness about the importance of blood donation and has called on all individuals who are able to donate to do so at their nearest donation clinic.

WCBS spokesperson Michelle Vermeulen said: “This theme highlights the fact that safe blood is needed not only worldwide but also right here in the Western Cape.

“We have about 6 million people living in the Western Cape and around 75% of this population will need blood or blood products in their lifetime, yet only 1.5% are donors.”

The winter months can be a particularly difficult time for blood collection and WCBS has implored individuals who fulfil the basic donor criteria to donate blood.

WCBS has also urged donors and potential donors to donate if they are from the O- and O+ group as their stocks for these blood types have been dwindling.

WCBS has three fixed donation clinics in Cape Town, as well as at each regional office but today will be running mobile clinics across the city including Ottery, Tokai, Goodwood, the CBD, Claremont, Bellville and Somerset West.

“You might not know who your blood is going to, but you can be sure that it will make a difference in someone’s life,” said Vermeulen.

The blood donated is given to trauma and accident victims, surgery patients, burn victims and people with blood diseases such as leukaemia and sickle-cell anaemia.

“Every unit of whole blood is separated into three lifesaving parts; red cells, platelets and plasma,” said Vermeulen.

Those between the ages of 16 and 75, weigh more than 50kg, are healthy on the day of donation and lead a safe sexual lifestyle 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.

Dr Pheello Lethola of the SA National Blood Service said: “In people with underlying iron overload, for example, donating blood can assist in lowering the iron overload. But perhaps the most important thing about donating your blood is the feeling of joy that comes with knowing that you are saving a human life.”