Blood Donation in Africa and Misconception

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In Africa, a lot of attention is paid to blood. In some African cultures, it is believed that blood is one’s identity. But more than that, medically speaking, blood is the engine of life. Life ceases without blood. It is therefore not a coincidence that the UNO and other aid agencies are actively trying to sensitize the world on the importance of blood donation.

Ask an average African to donate blood, they would tell you they don’t “waste” blood like water. Even a sachet of water is expensive now, they would argue. Perhaps, a good reason indeed, ironically speaking, to donate blood.

Blood transfusion is not a waste. In fact, as far as you eat adequately, the blood you have donated is quickly reproduced in your body. Blood transfusion helps save millions of lives every year.  It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions to live longer and with a higher quality of life. We need blood for people who have lost blood because of accidents, childbirth, surgery,  man-made and natural disasters or for people living with life-threatening conditions like cancer. Blood is essential for transporting oxygen, nutrients, and other substances to tissues throughout the body, hence blood is the source of life.

If blood is an essential source of life and the solution to many sicknesses and health problems, logically speaking, therefore, having enough blood in stock would help the government achieve much, health-wise, and deliver much needed social services. The question is: How far are African governments encouraging citizens to donate blood in order to save lives?

You wan us give our blood free to government, en government sell our blood.? You never hear “You scratch me for back, I scratch you for back?

That was Chief of Kata Kata Village reacting to the blood donation request. Some people might find his comment a bit blunt, but then, it equally paints a realistic picture of the situation on the ground in Africa. Is your government doing enough to sensitize the importance of blood donation and stimulate more efforts towards achieving that goal? How many Africans know that by donating their blood, they make it possible to receive blood anytime they are sick or in need of blood? You save lives through blood donation and your life is saved due to the presence of blood in the hospitals. It is definitely a win-win situation.

African governments should engage in a wide campaign to support blood donation. That campaign, if well executed, will yield enormous dividend and minimize stress on the government as it tries to deliver much needed social services.

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