LENASO calls on gvt to sup­port blood donors’ aware­ness

Lesotho Times - - News - Li­jeng Ranooe

THE Le­sotho Net­work of AIDS Ser­vices Or­gan­i­sa­tions (LENASO) has ap­pealed to the gov­ern­ment to al­lo­cate funds to sup­port pro­grammes to raise aware­ness of the im­por­tance of do­nat­ing blood.

This emerged dur­ing the LENASO se­cond an­nual blood do­na­tion drive held in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Le­sotho Blood Bank at Khot­song Lodge ear­lier this week.

Es­tab­lished in 1991, LENASO rep­re­sents a net­work of Com­mu­nity Based Or­ga­ni­za­tions and sup­port groups im­ple­ment­ing HIV and AIDS ser­vices in the com­mu­ni­ties. Short­ages of blood also af­fects peo­ple liv­ing with HIV, hence the need for aware­ness rais­ing to en­sure new reg­u­lar donors are reg­is­tered in the blood bank data­base.

In an in­ter­view with Le­sotho Times LENASO Hu­man Re­sources and Pro­cure­ment Man­ager, Thato Lekoekoe said an al­lo­ca­tion of funds for aware­ness rais­ing can help in­crease the num­ber of blood donors in the coun­try.

He ex­plained funds fa­cil­i­tated by the gov­ern­ment, through the na­tional bud­get can help boost aware­ness and con­trib­ute to sav­ing lives.

“We hope that in the na­tional bud­get there can be some funds al­lo­cated for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of blood do­na­tion aware­ness through­out the coun­try, to help com­mu­ni­ties to un­der­stand that there is a high de­mand for blood and re­lated prod­ucts,” Mr Lekoekoe said.

He ex­plained the need for con­sis­tent aware­ness rais­ing and not for ac­tors to wait un­til the blood bank has been de­pleted be­fore they can hold aware­ness cam­paigns, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing school hol­i­days.

The blood bank also re­ceives blood from stu­dents in var­i­ous schools and ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions around the coun­try and as a re­sult, dur­ing hol­i­days sup­plies are af­fected. “We would like blood to be read­ily avail­able through­out the year and en­sur­ing that the sit­u­a­tion nor­malises is ev­ery­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

He said rig­or­ous and con­sis­tent aware­ness pro­grammes can help to deal with the myths and fears as­so­ci­ated with do­nat­ing blood.

“Some peo­ple are not com­fort­able to do­nate their blood be­cause they re­ceived in­for­ma­tion from an un­in­formed source who told them that the process is painful and that it will af­fect their health. This is not true be­cause a health as­sess­ment is done to check if a per­son is fit to do­nate blood be­fore they can do­nate,” Mr Lekoekoe said.

Also ex­plain­ing the im­por­tance of do­nat­ing blood, The­liso Makoa who is the Mon­i­tor­ing, Eval­u­a­tion and Re­port­ing Man­ager at LENASO said the un­avail­abil­ity of blood in some med­i­cal cen­tres was a wor­ry­ing sit­u­a­tion.

“Each week lives are un­nec­es­sar­ily lost be­cause there could not get blood when they needed it most. Ed­u­ca­tion is key to en­sure we have suf­fi­cient blood in the na­tional blood bank at all times,” Mr Makoa said.

He urged par­ents, guardians and com­mu­ni­ties to share knowl­edge on the life-sav­ing ben­e­fits of do­nat­ing blood.

“We aim to help cre­ate com­mu­nity-based plat­forms that will fa­cil­i­tate ed­u­ca­tion on is­sues such as how blood do­na­tions can help re­duce ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity. There is a lot of ed­u­ca­tion also needed to help peo­ple un­der­stand the pro­cesses that make blood trans­fu­sion safe.”

The LENASO Pro­gramme Man­ager, Lucy Tsehloane em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of cre­at­ing sup­port within lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to fa­cil­i­tate ex­change of ideas and knowl­edge dis­sem­i­na­tion.

“As part­ners with the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, rais­ing aware­ness is part of our cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity. We are lead­ing by ex­am­ple and today, 80 per­cent of the LENASO staff will be do­nat­ing blood. This act will help to demon­strate that do­nat­ing blood is harm­less and that it is an act of giv­ing life to those who will need it in the event of, for ex­am­ple, car ac­ci­dents and to help peo­ple who suf­fer from some con­di­tions re­quir­ing the as­sis­tance of blood trans­fu­sion,” Ms Tsehloane said.

some of LENASO rep­re­sen­ta­tives and staff dur­ing the se­cond an­nual blood do­na­tion drive held in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Le­sotho Blood Bank at Khot­song Lodge ear­lier this week.

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