A newly formed community group; True Diamond Support Group has partnered with Botswana National Blood Transfusion Services (BNBTS) to kick-start the festive season’s blood donation campaign.

Spurred into action by the acute shortage of blood in the country’s health facilities, the Francistown based group intends to mobilize and sensitize citizens about the importance of donating blood.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday afternoon the group’s President David Tapela said a research has shown that most citizens don’t fully understand the importance of donating blood.

“Most are even scared and have left this responsibility to BNBTS. We however cannot allow the status quo to remain, we have to act now because there’s serious shortage of blood in our hospitals,” Tapela said.

His sentiments were shared by the group’s Public Relations Officer Modiri Lucas, who explained that their group’s core mandate will be to mobilize people and encourage them to donate blood.

“We intend to do this through football tournaments, music festivals and other social gatherings where people will donate blood,” he said.

Lucas said they’ll will bring former presidents Festus Mogae and Ian Khama on board to help drive the initiative. “We believe if for an example people donate blood and get a ticket for a festival or football match instead of paying cash we can collect a lot of blood,” said Lucas.

Lucas further said they are worried that as the festive season approaches more people are going to need blood due to the many road accident associated with the Christmas excitement.

A recruitment Officer from BNBTS Neotsotlhe Tsholetso said the country needs 45 000 units of blood each year to meet the demand. “We are unable to collect enough blood to meet the demand, in fact supply has been dropping while the demand is increasing,” she said.

Tsholetso revealed that in 2015 they collected 27 000 units, 25 000 units in 2016 and 24 000 in 2017. “It is a concern for us and we appeal to members of the society to donate blood,” she said.

Anyone aged between 16 and 65 is eligible to donate blood.

Women can donate after four months while men can donate every three months.

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