WHO says free blood donated for transfusion helps save millions of lives every year especially pregnant women during childbirth, anaemic patients, and children suffering from severe malaria.
June 14 every year is celebrated as World Blood Donor Day. This day is set aside by the United Nations to create awareness on the need for voluntary blood donation, and to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts to humanity.
The theme of this year’s celebration is, “Blood connects us all” with focus on blood donation as an act of solidarity. This highlights the fundamental human values of empathy, kindness, and respect, with the slogans: “Be there for someone else; Give blood, Share life”.
Faith Tanni, 36, is a 21-time voluntary blood donor who has been happily donating blood for over 11 years now. “I started donating blood when I saw how stressful and painful it was for families when their loved ones had to die especially innocent children because they couldn’t get readily available blood for transfusion,” Faith tells me in very optimistic tone.
“I had lived an unpleasant life in the past, yet God found me, kept me safe and strong. So, I decided that the only way I can appreciate God for keeping me save is to be a voluntary blood donor so that my blood can be used to save other lives so they can be brought to Christ,” she adds.
Faith who is a member of the Good Samaritan Blood Donor Association of Cameroon says she feels happy, younger and stronger, especially with the feeling of saving lives that would otherwise be lost with her blood. I feel lighter and stress-free because of what I do. Such is the feeling shared by voluntary blood donors.
The CBC Health Services celebrates World Blood Donor Day in some of her institutions around Cameroon.
Baptist Hospital Mutengene (BHM) commemorated this year’s Day with a march-past and presentation of awards to voluntary donors who have donated blood for at least six times. During the activities to mark the event in Tiko Subdivision, Charles Nfuh, President of Blood Donors Association of BHM and Laboratory Assistant explained the advantages of being a donor to the population.
“Regular blood donation increases the constant creation of fresh red blood cells in the system and reduces the risk of blood cancer. Regular donors are always aware of their health status because there is always free screening for certain diseases before each donation,” revealed Charles Nfuh.
The President of the Blood Donor Association of BHM also stated that voluntary unpaid blood donation in Cameroon faces challenges such as the lack of awareness regarding the need to give blood freely.
“Blood can only be available in our blood banks to save lives only through regular voluntary blood donation.
“Our blood donor associations face financial difficulties. For instance, if a donor needs to come from a far distant place to attend to an emergency, you need to sometimes pay his or her transport fare and we haven’t got enough resources.
Also, before a donor donates blood, he or she needs to eat well. Donors must be checked to confirm they are free from any ailment before they can donate blood. This is at a cost too,” narrates Charles Nfuh.
He lamented at the fact that some donors usually ask for money before they can donate blood to save lives. “We have been going to communities and churches to sensitize people on the importance of voluntary blood donation.”
The 2018 World Blood Donor Day highlighted the fundamental human values of altruism, respect, empathy, and kindness, with slogans like: “Be there for someone else”, and “Give blood, Share life.”, “Every potential blood donor should have this in mind.”
To donate blood, you must fall within the age range 18 – 65, must weigh at least 50kg and must be in good state of health.