The National Blood Services-Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has appealed to members of the public to come forward and donate more blood especially during the current Covid-19-induced lockdown period.
The organisation encouraged members of the public, especially young people to join the Pledge 25 Club, an initiative where people make a pledge to donate at least 25 safe units of blood consistently.
Speaking during a virtual media education workshop for the Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Friday, NBSZ southern region planning and recruitment officer, Sifundo Ngwenya, said the club has covered milestones in securing blood donors, adding some offshoots have been opened from the Bulawayo chapter.
According to NBSZ officials, men can donate blood up to four times a year while women can donate up to three times.
“Pledge 25 Club is a special club for young and healthy citizens who pledge to regularly donate safe units of blood at least 25 times in their lives. The primary aim being to allow for smooth transition from school donors in to safe adult donors thereby effortlessly creating a future pool of informed adult blood donors,” Ngwenya said.
“We have covered a great mileage, we have managed to open other offshoots from the Bulawayo Chapter. We have quite a number of people who have graduated to adult donors. This year we have almost twenty people, in that programme who will be graduating into adult donors.”
Ngwenya reiterated that those who join the club were constantly reminded to live responsibly so that they could continue donating safe blood units.
“There are some though who have fallen by the roadside. Being in this group of Pledge 25 takes a lot of discipline as one would be required to live a responsible life so as to continue donating blood. We implore members of the media to create awareness and encourage people to partake in the Pledge 25 club so that we may have consistent and informed donors,” he said.
Ngwenya highlighted various challenges faced by the organisation in retaining blood donors who constantly donate from a school going age through to adulthood.
“We face various challenges in retaining donors due to various factors. Some relocate to other towns or even outside the country. Most of our donors are also young people who are still in school and under the guidance of their parents. As such, in as much as some teenagers may want to consistently donate, you find that maybe their parents would be against the idea so they end up not coming through,” Ngwenya said.
Ngwenya implored members of the public to donate regularly donate blood, adding they were the sole source and without the donations many people would lose their lives.