Donate blood this Valentine’s Day

Rail Park Mall responds to a critical shortage at Botswana’s blood bank

From the 8 to 13 February 2021, Rail Park Mall in Gaborone will celebrate an early Valentine’s Day with a weeklong blood donation drive at the train station and bus terminus by members of the public.
The initiative, which has been held annually since 2013, is part of Rail Park Mall and the National Blood Transfusion Services’ (NBTS) “commitment to encouraging the public to donate blood to relieve the bleeding national blood bank”.

Themed “You are Just my Type, Give me Blood,” the Centre Manager of Rail Park Mall, Obakeng Tebele, says the campaign is a continuation of what has become a norm for the mall to host a public activation in harmony with Valentine’s Day.

It is about people being compassionate donating blood especially now because the country’s blood bank is running low. “The national outcry from NBTS about blood shortage in the country has affected everyone, more so in the times of a pandemic like COVID-19,” Tebele told Time Out.

“It is important to have patients who need blood helped without delay so that they may leave health facilities to avoid contracting any infection. As Rail Park Mall, we create such partnerships to educate our customers and shoppers in a relaxed environment.”

Rail Park Mall’s Marketing Officer, Keletso Sebogodi, added: “As one of Botswana’s biggest malls, it is our responsibility to support our communities and people in need. We hope to raise awareness and educate the masses through this initiative about the numerous benefits of donating blood. We intend to use the mall’s +- 600, 000 foot traffic per month to our advantage.

“We have also partnered with other stakeholders who will have loads of giveaways for participants in the blood donation drive. We are grateful to Multichoice Botswana, Kamoso Africa, Orange, Botswana Insurance Fund Management and Pledge 25 Club for coming on board in this noble cause.”

At NBTS, Chief Registered Nurse Annah Mothuti, who is the Recruitment Coordinator, explained that there is a severe shortage of blood in the country. About 45 000 units of blood are needed per year but the country currently collects a mere 23 000 units.

“We urge people who weigh above 50kg and are aged between 16 and 65 to come forward and help raise our collection levels,” Mothuti said. “Blood saves lives as it is used by cancer patients, in childbirth, by accident victims, by people who lose blood during operations and is needed for many other medical conditions.”