When I Donated Blood

In collaboration with STACC, my blogging group BloggingGhana led by Daixy has this holiday arranged for blood donations. It all started with Daixy reading about the acute lack of blood at the Korle Bu Hospital blood bank (Ghana’s biggest hospital, located downtown Accra). Being the doer she is, Daixy decided to put her NGO and social media skills together and before we could all say “blood drive”, four dates were set and online we started inviting friends to participate and donate blood.

Today was the third day, and I went to donate blood for the very first time. I was a little nervous. However, failing to convince anyone to join me, I realised many people were either scared of donating (obviously more scared than me!) or misinformed about the process, so when I went I made a deliberate effort of capturing it all.

So here you go, Kajsa gives blood:

Summary: Really, it wasn’t bad at all and took just an hour out of my day and then the actual blood giving was only 10 minutes!

The Gory Details (with pictures):

1:06 PM Arrived at Noguchi Institute where blood donation personnel had set up shop for the day. Daixy greeted me and tweeted to the world, I had arrived. I also said hi to the head and PR person for STACC and weighed in.

Clockwise: Noguchi, STACC personel, scale and Daixy.
Clockwise: Noguchi, STACC personel, scale and Daixy.

1.09 PM Greeted bloggers who had just donated. One of them had fainted after donating, likely because she did not eat well before donating. Also, she just came into the country from the cold north and the heat might have affected her. I had eaten lunch about half-an-hour before coming.

Friends, Form and Bag to fill!
Friends, Form and Bag to fill!

1.15 PM Filled a health declaration form and giggled as I truthfully declared I had NOT undergone circumcision over the last 12 months.

1.19 PM Was pricked in my thumb to check the HB or blood sugar level of my blood. If its under 12, one cannot donate. This pain was I think the worse, but alas, I have done it many times as they test your blood sugar repeatedly when you are pregnant.


Blood 2
Testing HB value.

1.25 PM My blood pressure was checked and it was OK.

Having my blood pressure checked.
Having my blood pressure checked.

1.27 PM I laid down on a bed and nurse put a needle in my arm. Yes, it did hurt a little, but for like 1 second. I promise! After that it feels uncomfortable, but not even close to any pain. The needle was first led to some small tubes, for testing my blood, and then to the bag as shown above. Relaxing on a bed was nice!

I was asked to open and close my hand to “pump” blood out. After a few minutes my hand got cold and then a lil’bit numb.

After about 10 minutes the blood did not flow too much and the nurse decided it was enough. I recon I had donated about 400 ml.

The intense bit. That wasn't even very intense.
The intense bit. That wasn’t even very intense.

1.38 PM The nurse pulled the needle out and put a ball of cotton on the sand grain sized wound and folded my arm over it. This did not hurt at all. She put a plaster on and I sat up and after a minute walked out the door.

1.45 PM I was given some Milo and crackers and sat there chatting to Daixy about the continuation of this quickly thrown together project.

1.50 PM I walked out, feeling just fine. Went to the bank and drove home. Left from the blood donation is only a plaster on my arm that I now take off – ouch – and these pictures I shared with you!

Milo, Relaxing, Friends and All in all, THUMBS UP!
Milo, Relaxing, Friends and All in all, THUMBS UP!

We are now thinking of how to get many more of you excited about donating blood! Next up is a Valentine’s Day Blood Drive and then maybe one in June on Blood Donor Day – but we want to make it like a party  or a fun day out with fresh juice, socialising and many more donors!

Let’s fill the blood banks in Ghana. It is a job for you and me, people who cares and who thinks none should have to die because blood banks are empty.

Some facts:

Don’t drink alcohol 24 h before and after donating blood.

A healthy woman can donate blood 3 times per year, a man 4 times.

25% of maternal deaths in Africa are attributed to a lack of blood for transfusion.

Resources: BloodBook, Blood Donation in Sweden and Safe Blood for Africa. Collages made with Pixlr.

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