South Africa: Blood Donation Saves Lives but Few South Africans Are Regular Donors

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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….

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