As the world stops to give life saving liquid
As the world celebrated and paid tribute to perennial blood donors around the globe on Monday it came as a somehow sad day for the country’s recognized donor as he is no longer able to donate his blood and save lives due to diabetes.
Ever since he was 16, 58 year-old Zephania Kajevu has been donating blood and last year he was given due recognition as he was awarded for attaining the highest number of donations at the Gaborone Centre.
He has donated a total of 65 pints.
But the dream of this seasoned Gaborone-based freelance journalist, to be a life donor and continue saving lives came to an abrupt end last year when he was diagnosed with diabetes and thus brought to an end his donations.
“When I started donating blood while I was still a teenager it was just to show off to my peers that I was strong enough. I was one of those slim boys who were considered week so it was meant to prove people otherwise,’’ he said.
He said it was after some years when he was approached and asked to donate blood for a woman who had leukemia.
“I happened to be the only one available who had her blood type and I willingly donated. Unfortunately the woman died before the transfusion,’’ said the Zimbabwean-born Kajevu.
He said it was then that he fully realized the importance of blood donation and thus made it a must to donate the precious liquid three times a year to save lives of those in need of blood.
Even when he moved to Botswana in 1997, Kajevu continued with his pledge.
Meanwhile speaking during the World Blood Donor Day, the Minister of Health Reverend Doctor John Seakgosing said in many countries, Botswana included, people still die due to an inadequate supply of blood and blood products.
He said this has a particular impact on women (as a consequence of pregnancy-related complications), children (due to malnutrition, malaria, and severe anaemia), trauma, HIV and other conditions.
“It is therefore evident that there is need for an adequate supply of safe blood and blood products. This therefore calls for a pool of committed healthy individuals to become regular blood donors,’’ he said.
The aim of World Blood Donor day is to raise global awareness of the need for safe and adequate blood and blood products for transfusion and of the critical contribution voluntary unpaid blood donors make to the health system.
Also, the Botswana government used it as an opportunity to celebrate those who already donate blood in response to the worldwide increase in demand for voluntary non-remunerated blood donors.