Sumary of South Africa: Blood Donation Saves Lives but Few South Africans Are Regular Donors:
- People needing blood transfusions include accident victims, those with anaemia and patients undergoing surgery..
- Glenda Mary Davison, a medical scientist with a special interest in haematological malignancy, immunology and inflammation, unpacks the blood donation process in South Africa..
- Before donation, donors wishing to give blood undergo a mini medical to ensure they are healthy and that it is safe for them to donate..
- Once it’s complete, the blood is put on ice and taken to the blood service headquarters for processing, together with the blood tests and donor records – which are kept anonymous throughout the process..
- Here the donated blood is spun in a centrifuge to separate it into three components, namely red cells, platelets and plasma..
- The red cells provide oxygen to the body’s tissues and are used to treat patients who have lost large amounts of blood due to bleeding or because of severe anaemia..
- After removing any residual white cells, the red cells are stored in a fridge for up to 42 days or until needed by a patient..
- They are prescribed to treat patients with extremely low platelet counts such as those on chemotherapy, or with blood cancers such as leukaemia and patients who have undergone a bone marrow transplant….