World Blood Donor Day will pay tribute to blood donors
Rwanda will be joining the rest of the world this week to celebrate the World Blood Donor Day on June 14, with a theme emphasizing the vital role played by donors “every blood donor is a hero.”
According to Dr. Swaibu Gatare from the National Center for Blood Transfusion, celebrating this day is a recognition and appreciation to people who donate blood. “They are giving a precious gift of life every time they give blood,” he said adding that this is an occasion to raise awareness and encourage those who are not yet involved to be part of the lifesaving process.
Before the day itself, activities to call people upon getting used to blood donation are taking place.
“The center has organized an open day period this week, which started on Monday June 11 and will end on June 14, for everyone to come and see what we do and how it is done,” explained Alexia Mukamazimpaka the officer in charge of donor mobilization and recruitment. “They can visit any of our five branches in Kigali, Rwamagana, Huye, Karongi and Musanze.”
The celebrations of the day itself will take place on Thursday June 14 in Rubavu district, Western Province; and according to Gatare the choice is not a coincidence. “We have finished setting up a new branch of the blood center in that region which will be officially opened on that day,” he explained adding that it will also help in sensitizing the population of the area and encourage them to donate blood.
Although they set a certain estimated target according to the demand and blood collected from previous years, NCBT staffs say that blood donation is not really measured in terms of numbers.
“For example for this year of 2012 we estimated we may collect about 40 000 units of blood but we look more at the fact that all patients in need were able to receive blood,” he remarked. “And we are really grateful as we have served anybody who was in need.”
Celebrated for the first time in 2005 worldwide, the World Blood Donor Day is also in memory of Karl Landsteiner (June 14, 1868 – June 26, 1943), an Austrian biologist and physician who, in 1900 was the first man to distinguish the main blood groups still in use today.