Saturday 5 July 2014

Blood donation #37 (& SANBS lifts ban on LGBTI donors)

I should have been at my local donor clinic a month ago... I decided to swing past this morning as I was in the area.

June is Blood Donor Month. They had leftovers. So I got one of these today (in July). Nice for my photo.
My one regular donor-centre nurse said that donor numbers have been low. Another chirped in that none of the clinics are making target.

They had a mobile clinic at the annual Rand Easter Show. She said they have people who come there and donate year after year - and only once a year. Know what? Their donation ends up in the bin.


You may be all feel-good about that once-off donation but it is a waste of time, blood and resources of the National Blood Service.

As a recipient, I'm sure you'll prefer to receive blood from trusted donors whose donations are regularly tested and screened and always turn up clear and safe? Ja.


SANBS recently dropped their ban on accepting donations from people in same-sex relationships. Finally. It has taken them long enough.

The general SANBS policy for hetrosexual donors has always questioned risky sexual behaviour, for example "if they have had more than one sexual partner in the past six months, or if they have had sexual contact with someone whose sexual background is unknown to them" the person may not donate.

From a release on SABC website:
In the past gay men or male to male sex (MSM) were only allowed to donate blood if they had been celibate for 6 months or longer.
This was because they were seen as being at high risk for being HIV positive. The South African HIV epidemic is primarily a heterosexual one, so the SANBS’ policy was criticized as being discriminatory.
With effect from the 5th of May 2014, the new questionnaire will address sexual risk, in that any sexual act or contact with a new partner/s during the preceding six months will be deemed a risk to the safety of blood supply, irrespective of the personal sexual orientation or preference.
Irrespective of their sexual orientation, people who are in monogamous relationships will be able to donate blood. However people with multiple partners or a new partner will not be able to donate blood irrespective of their sexual orientation.
Damn flippin' right!

I saw an accident last night. Fortunately there were no injuries - but it could have been bad. I'd just run across the Kloof Road bridge, which goes over the N3 (just South of Gilloolies) with my friend Jason when we heard the sound of tyres. It wasn't the sound of breaking tyres - more like sliding tyres. Fast. I saw a blur through the bushes and we ran across the road, back on to the bridge.

A double cab pulling a flat-bed trailer loaded with those big round hay bales was on the far side of the N3 North - and it has clearly spun across the highway, doing an almost full circle to end up perpendicular to the traffic in the emergency lane and with the trailer behind it (looked to be off the hitch). There were hay bales all over the road.

And not even one other car had been hit, even with the hay bales bouncing all over the place. To spin around on a four-lane highway and not hit anyone else... that's luck!

A car had stopped behind the bakkie and it looked like the driver was A-ok. A passing emergency vehicle on the other side of the highway stopped too, put on his reflective vest and jumped over to see the driver too.

My guess is that the trailer was overloaded and that he had a blow out, which spun the heavily-laden trailer and the bakkie out of control. How he got that many of them on to the trailer in the first place is beyond me. I've climbed up onto these big bales and to get up I had to take a flying run. They're probably about head height for me.

There are BIG accidents on this stretch of highway. It's a really nice section so I'd put my money on speed and dangerous overtaking as the primary reason for accidents. It's actually such a bad accident area that I avoid it. I live about 1.5km away and use different on-ramps depending on my direction of travel just to avoid this stretch. That bad!

I'm O-negative (7% of the population). My blood can be given to anyone - I'm a universal donor.

Car accident victims may require 40 to 100 units of blood to save their life. Blood is also used for organ transplant patients, burn victims, people with blood disorders and surgery patients. A statistic I saw online states that one in seven people will require a transfusion in their lifetime.

Most blood donors only start donating after they have been recipients of the good will of donors...

I first donated blood shortly after I turned 16 (you've got to be 16 and at least 50kg in weight to donate). I donated regularly for a number of years and once I got into adventure racing and was regularly in malaria areas, I stopped donating and lost my regular donor status. In 2008 I regained my regular donor status (at least three donations a year) and have maintained it since.

As I've said before, don't go to donate unless you intend to become a regular donor - at least three times a year.Once-off donations are a waste of resources, blood and good intentions. You can check the SANBS website for clinics (fixed and mobile). 

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