Absa staff take part in blood donation drive |14 June 2021
In commemoration of World Blood Donor Day, the staff of Absa Bank Seychelles organised a blood donation drive on Saturday June 12.
This activity was mainly to assist the Health Care Agency in its national campaign to replenish the stock in the blood bank at the Seychelles Hospital.
The activity started around nine at the Capital City Building and respecting all the health guidelines, the Absa staff were queueing outside for their turn.
Amanda Bernstein, the bank’s head of marketing and corporate relations, shared that Absa always had a citizenship programme where they try to do good acts for the community.
“We have a programme called colleague engagement where we encourage colleagues to give us ideas on what activity they would like to do to support their community. This was a suggestion from one of the colleagues as they were aware of the shortage of blood at the hospital. We were very encouraged and excited to support it, particularly in these times where we are all ready to support each other and this is a small way where we can all try to contribute.”
Many of the staff, some thirty plus, were also first time donors. Seychelles NATION had the opportunity to have a chat with Helda Antoine and Sonny Barra, both first time donors.
Ms Antoine was very happy and shared that she never thought of giving blood in the past. “It is a new experience and also an opportunity to do a charitable gesture. In this pandemic situation, many people who used to give blood cannot do it and I felt that I should be donating some blood. It is also a personal benefit for my health too and I am happy to be able to contribute towards a noble cause.”
Sonny Barra always wanted to participate in a blood drive but for some health reasons, he could not do it. “So today is my first time. This time as my company is running this drive, I had to seize my chance. For me donating blood is a way to help the community and I am also aware that the blood bank does not have enough supply. If there is anything I can help with, I will do it. The process was smooth and so far I am feeling ok.”
The blood drive was conducted in collaboration with the Seychelles Hospital. Joanne Michel, chief technologist for clinical laboratory services & Blood Transfusion Center, informed us that there is always a need for blood at the blood bank. “There is a shortage specially blood group O and A which are the most common group for Seychellois. There is always a demand for these groups. Right now the bank is not even half full so we need to mobilise people to come donate blood. Definitely with the ongoing pandemic, we have seen a reduction. We used to have a regular group of 300 donors but for various reasons this number has decreased. When we are calling people, they are saying they have been a contact or they are even Covid positive. I think people are even scared to come to the hospital.”
Recently we have also seen urgent requests for blood on the social media. Ms Michel explained that “when we have a blood bank that is always full, you do not need to call on people. This is what we need to strive for – ensuring that the blood bank is well supplied. So there are situations when someone at the hospital needs blood and we do not have enough, then the doctor ask to call on the family members. So far nobody has passed away because of lack of blood. We always have to keep a reserve for emergency situation.”
Right now there are two staff at the blood bank and they work with the laboratory for further tests.
“My message for people who have not yet tried to donate blood, please come forward and give it a try. If you are fine after the first donation, then become a regular donor – every three months if you are a man and every four months for a woman – because giving blood is helping save lives,” said Ms Michel.
To make this activity possible, Absa organised the activity on a Saturday and set up three stations – the pre-screening room, the donation room and the recovery room. Five staff from the Seychelles Hospital came to help with the blood drive.