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Every blood donor is a hero

World Blood Donor Day is built on the success of World Health Day which was held on  April 7 2000 with the theme “Blood saves lives. Safe blood starts with me”. June 14th, birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the founder of the ABO blood group system, was recognised as the date to commemorate World Blood Donor Day at the 58th World Health Assembly.

This year’s main commemorations were held at Sakubva 2 High School, Mutare, in Manicaland Province. Those in attendance included the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, represented by  Portia Manangazira, Mayor and  Mayoress of Mutare, councillors, WHO country representative, Custodia Mandlhate, The International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies (IFCRC) country representative;  Oforbuike Nwobodo, Donor Funders Centres for Disease Control (CDC) representatives  Sheetal Patel,  Eileen Burke, chair NBSZ, Retired Judge  Leslie George Smith,  NetOne managing director Reward Kangai, who was represented by  Ellen Muchemwa and  NBSZ chief executive David Mvere who was represented by  Lucy Marowa.

Samukele Hadebe who officiated at the event on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister  Thokokozani Khupe urged the corporate world to support the NBSZ as the government alone cannot meet all the expenses needed to run the blood service programme. “Despite a myriad of challenges we are encountering as a nation, I would like to urge the business community to come forward and support the NBSZ. I make this appeal on behalf of the Zimbabwe government, to the business community to come in and fill the void.”

WHO Country Representative  Custodia Mandhlate, commended the NBSZ for attaining 100% voluntary non-remunerated blood donations; she also urged healthy individuals to become regular active voluntary unpaid blood donors and called upon the sustained commitment from the already existing blood donors and those who have since stopped giving blood to continue to donate regularly. “I am appealing to you now to make a commitment to resume where you left off and become regular blood donors.”

Portia Manangazira representing the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Henry Madzorera, reiterated on the imperative role being played by NBSZ in the health sector. She also acclaimed the NBSZ for providing the nation with safe blood and blood products.

The winning school, Sakubva 2 High School, received a prize for coming out tops in the province in terms of blood collections and displaying good etiquette when the NBSZ mobile teams visited the school to collect blood.

They received a floating shield, certificate, and a top-of-the-range desktop computer and a colour printer which was proudly sponsored by NetOne. NetOne have been sponsoring this event since 2006 and this year’s sponsorship was to the tune of US$23 000. Last year’s celebrations were commemorated at Murehwa High School, Mashonaland East Province.

Other mini celebrations to be held at later dates through regional NBSZ offices in their respective provinces are as follows:
Matabeland North Province — John Tallach Secondary School
Matabeleland South — Muchabezi High School
Harare Metropolitan — Chisipite Senior School
Mashonaland West — Nemakonde High School
Mashonaland Central — Ruya Adventist School
Mashonaland East — Nagle House

The theme of the 2012 World Blood Donor Day campaign, “Every blood donor is a hero” focuses on the idea that every one of us can become a hero by giving blood. While recognising the silent and unsung heroes who save lives every day through their blood donations, the theme also strongly encourages more people all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly.

The objectives of this year’s campaign are to:
thank and reinforce the self-esteem of those who give blood so they continue to do so regularly;
inspire those who do not give blood but are in good health to start donating blood;
encourage blood service staff to recognize blood donors for their “heroic” act each and every time they donate blood; and
persuade ministries of health to show their appreciation of blood donors and provide adequate resources to move towards 100% voluntary unpaid blood donation.
Significantly, on February 23, this year, the Republic of Korea being the host of the global event of the World Blood Donor Day 2012, created the largest human blood drop to win Guinness World Record, breaking all previous records.

Each year, a host country is identified for a global event that provides the focus for an international publicity campaign about World Blood Donor Day. The 2012 global event was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, hosted by the Korean Red Cross and the health and welfare ministry, Republic of Korea.
Today, in 62 countries, national blood supplies are based on 100% (or more than 99,9%) voluntary unpaid blood donation. However, 40 countries still depend on family donors and even paid donors and collect less than 25% of their blood supplies from voluntary unpaid blood donors. The goal of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is for all countries to obtain their blood supplies entirely from voluntary.

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