United States International University students marked World Blood Donor day yesterday by donating blood in a drive organized by the Blood Link Foundation. The drive collected 188 pints of blood.
Radio presenter Sheila Mwanyigha was on site to encourage students.
“We’re calling on young people to become regular donors. Adopting a healthy lifestyle isn’t a drag, it’s something that you can do regularly,” said Sheila, as she went around congratulating blood donors at USIU campus.
WHO chose 14 June as the day to recognize the millions of people who save lives and improve the health of others by donating blood. The Day highlights the need to regularly give blood to prevent shortages in hospitals and clinics, particularly in developing countries where quantities are very limited.
Many students were giving blood for the first time but for others like MBA student Ken, donating blood is a regular thing.
“Firstly I do it to help others, second to help myself because I don’t want to be like a red sea. It’s about loving others,” he said.
A report by the Ministry of Medical Services indicates that children and pregnant mothers are recipients of more than 60 per cent of blood in the country. Every ten minutes, there is someone receiving blood either in surgery or to replace lost blood.
However, blood shortage in the hospitals across the country is worsening, a situation the ministry has blamed on the public that fears donating blood.
Some of the students were keen to know whether donating blood hurt as they visited their friends lying on plastic beds with blood being pumped out of their veins into a plastic pack.
“No, it doesn’t hurt – I’m happy to donate blood. I can save a life,” replied student Barbara with a smile.
It is estimated that Kenya needs in excess of 200,000 units of blood annually to adequately meet its requirements, but is currently running a deficit of 75, 000 units. 60 per cent of of blood collected is from school children, according to the ministry.
Blood can be donated at any time, not only during events like World Blood Donor Day. Men are advised to donate blood every four months and women every three months.
The theme for this year is “Every blood donor is a hero“.