Did you know that 1 in every 7 people entering a hospital need blood and that every 10 minutes someone is in urgent need of blood?
The first time I gave blood was in high school, I initially did it to skip class and get a free afternoon nap but by the time I walked out of there a chill ran down my spine as I was told about the life-saving power that my blood had.
The process was quite simple: registration, getting an in-depth look at my medical history and mini-physical, donation which typically takes about 15 minutes and refreshments afterwards to boost your energy levels.
Statistics shared by the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services show that, in Kenya, 2 of every 3 units of blood are transfused to mothers especially during child birth related complications & young children however at this moment, the country needs more than 400,000 units of blood per year to fulfill these and other various medical needs but records a staggering shortfall of 250,000 units currently.
The deficit is mostly felt during school holidays since students make up 80% of donors like me when I started.
So why should you donate blood?
I think the first reason would be because you really don’t need a special reason to. Most people do it because they know it’s going to save a life somewhere plus it really costs us nothing to do it. The moment you’re declared fit enough to donate, you’re good to go.
The second most important reason is that the need is constant. Every single day we have expectant mothers, patients being wheeled into surgeries and many others being unfortunately striken by life’s uncertainties like accidents, buildings collapsing etc. These people didn’t ask to be in these situations but there is something that can be done to help them.
We also have people facing chronic diseases that require constant medical attention and sometimes that means impropmtu blood transfusions. Am example is chronic severe anaemia that sometimes requires periodic blood transfusions. In these cases, blood that’s on stanndby at the hospital blood banks is crucial for the patient’s survival.
Meet Lorna Odongo for example. As a 31 year old sickle cell anaemia warrior, Lorna was saved by the 14 pints of blood that she received in the two transfusions that she have had, and she will be forever grateful to the donors.
When Lorna was just two years old, she suffered a measles attack and during treatment doctors confirmed that she had sickle cell anemia. This would begin a painful journey with an ailment barely understood by neither a young Lorna nor her teachers and peers. There was barely any information about the disease and this made it hard to navigate the school and social systems.
It only takes about 15 minutes to keep another person alive. pic.twitter.com/0xaj5DbNXk
— Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service💉 (@KNBTSOfficial) May 7, 2018
She would continue to experience episodes of excruciating pain as a result of the sickle cell well into her teenage years, which she learnt to manage all the while undergoing treatment to manage the disease. At 27, she was diagnosed with TB and has been transfused twice since then, once being during her treatment.
Lorna and her family are appreciative to blood donors, whose gift of blood is helping her in her battle against sickle cell anemia.
This month, Barclays Bank is partnering with the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services (KNBTS) to launch an annual blood donation drive dubbed #15ToSaveALife, that will run between the 2nd and 11th of May and will be spread across 30 of its branches countrywide in a bid to add 1,000 new units to the national blood bank to help bridge a rising deficit recorded every year.
With the #15ToSaveaLife initiative you too can join the cause through giving blood at one of the 30 Barclays Bank branches and you can take that opportunity to give your blood to save someone else’s life today!