Hundreds of churchgoers donate blood amidst shortage

80
SCJ members donating blood

“one pint saves three lives…”

More than 600 members of Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Southern Africa have donated blood to help ease the national blood shortage.

Donations in some cities started as early as Wednesday last week with many more churchgoers expressing their desire to help by donating much needed blood.

According to Ravi Reddy, the CEO of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), blood stock levels are currently at a critically low level due to the COVID-19 pandemic that limited access to regular blood drive venues. “We are appealing to the public to please donate much-needed blood.”

In Gauteng, Godfrey Pea, from the marketing department of the SANBS, said that less than 1% of the population donate blood. “We need a whole lot more. Over 3000 units a day, nationally.”

He emphasized the importance of having sufficient blood stock which is used for people in serious accidents, bleeding disorders, women who gives birth and for many other deceases.

Other provinces of South Africa are experiencing a similar challenge. The shortage caused by the pandemic is said to be worsened by the recent floods, devastation and unrest in some provinces that made it difficult to maintain a steady blood collection and supply.

Neelashan Govender, a representative of the SANBS in the Durban area, remains hopeful the situation will get better. He lamented the fact that the closure of schools due to holidays, impacts blood stock volume as it is scholars who normally donate in their numbers. Govender emphasized the importance of blood type O – as it can be used for all the other blood types.

With this cry for help, hundreds of members of Shincheonji churches from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Gqeberha, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and as far afield as Bafokeng, decided to organise a national blood drive. “The church’s desire is to assist and alleviate this burden on the national and local blood services caused by the aftermath of the pandemic. We want to help the community and save lives in this time of shortage,” a spokesperson for the church said.

“I want to help by giving 30-minutes of my time to donate one unit of blood, and hopefully save one or more lives. I am so excited that so many other members have also decided to do the same,” Cleo Solomons, a congregation member of Shincheonji Church, said.

Another churchgoer, Nolwazi Bengu, said that “Because our hearts are for helping people, we moved as fast as lightning to organise this blood drive throughout the country. This is the very least that we can do. Please be encouraged by this and take some time yourself to also come and donate your blood.”

Approximate 18,000 members of the church in South Korea also participated in donating blood since the start of their drive in April. This number was recorded as the largest group blood donation in the country to date.

The head of the Korean Red Cross Blood Service, Namsun Cho, said in a statement, “When the impact of the Omicron reached its peak, Shincheonji Church launched a large-scale blood donation drive. It was like rain during the drought. We are surprised that the number of donors exceeded 6000 in just three days and so many more participated. We appreciate their life-saving dedication.”

Pea from the SANBS in Johannesburg stated that, “one pint saves three lives,” and thanked members of Shincheonji for taking the initiative to organise such a large-scale blood drive.

He urged the public to also participate by visiting their nearest donation centre.

To find your nearest donation centre contact 0800 119 031 or visit www.sanbs.org.za

SA Positive News