Pledge 25 in a Series of Campaigns


By Peter Tanyanyiwa
Pledge 25 Club, a special club for young and healthy citizens who pledge to
regularly donate safe units of blood at least 25 times in their lives undertook a
series of campaigns across the country aimed at educating people the benefits of
donating blood, this was learned at the recently held “Mensplash” event at
National Blood Services Zimbabwe NBSZ Headquarters in Belgravia.
Pledge 25 National president Michelle Sophie Mtandwa said they have been
doing several campaigns through recreational activities, musical shows and
sport to engage the young people and educate them about the benefits of
donating blood.
“We did a lot of campaigns as we wanted to attract new donors. An sms
platform and whatsApp were used to retain and invite regular donors, we also
invited our donors via our Facebook platform.
“We had activities lined up on the day just to motivate the donors such as pool
games, play station (FIFA) games, dancing competitions, drinking completions
among others. The winners walked away with prices such as wristwatches,
bottle drinks, headphones and card readers.
“The club has an elected committee to run the affairs of this unique group.
Blood cannot be manufactured, and there are no substitutes for it, therefore, be a
hero, donate blood, save a life and leave a legacy,” said Mtandwa.
The concept which originated as "Pledge 25" evolved into a full membership
club, promoting the value of saving lives by giving blood through active
participation and healthy lifestyle choices. The name "Club 25" was taken from
the donors' pledge to "give 25 blood donations."
The club members were very happy with these activities and with how the club
is helping them maintain their status as a way of wanting to donate so as to
reach their milestone. The idea of them being together as males is awesome as
they get to discuss issues affecting them and the opportunity of making new
friends and exchanging contacts.
Health benefits of donating blood include good health, reduced risk of cancer
and hemochromatosis. It helps in reducing risk of damage to liver and pancreas.
Donating blood may help in improving cardiovascular health and reducing
obesity.
Everyday blood transfusions take place that save lives of many people all over
the world. Donating blood is good for health of donors as well as those who
need it. It is important that donors ensure that they are in good health to avoid
any health issues post transfusion to those who use it.
Donating blood can help in treating patients suffering from cancer, bleeding
disorders, chronic anemia associated with cancer, sickle cell anemia and other
hereditary blood abnormalities. It is important to know that human blood cannot
be manufactured, people are the only source and that is why it is important to
donate blood and help those who need it. It is also possible to store your own
blood for your future needs.
A mini health exam that includes checklist for diseases related to blood pressure
and infectious diseases should is conducted before initiating the collection of
blood. Those who have medical conditions such as AIDS, and hepatitis should
not donate blood. People who have taken vaccinations or have undergone any
surgery or have cancer, diabetes, cold and flu should consult their health experts
before donating blood. Pregnant women should also seek expert advice before
donating blood.
Health benefits of blood donation include reduced risk of hemochromatosis.
Hemochromatosis is a health condition that arises due to excess absorption of
iron by the body. This may be inherited or may be caused due to alcoholism,
anemia or other disorders. Regular blood donation may help in reducing iron
overload.
Blood donation may also help in lowering risk of cancer. By donating blood the
iron stores in the body are maintained at healthy levels. And the reduction in
iron levels in the body is linked with low cancer risk.
Blood donation is beneficial in reducing risk of heart and liver ailments caused
by iron overload in the body. Intake of iron rich diet may increase the iron levels
in the body and since only limited proportions can be absorbed excess iron gets
stored in heart, liver and pancreas. This in turn increases the risk of cirrhosis,
liver failure, damage to pancreas, and heart abnormalities like irregular heart
rhythms. Blood donation helps in maintaining the iron levels and reduces the
risk of various health ailments.

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