By Dayna Kerecman Myers
Every day, people living in some of the world’s poorest countries die because of a shortage of safe blood.
In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the vast majority of countries collected less than half of the blood their populations needed. And, in 39 low-income countries, blood donations are still not routinely tested for infections including HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis (according to the World Health Organization’s Global Database on Blood Safety).
Now, thanks to the Global Blood Fund (GBF), which helps blood collection agencies in low-income countries, there’s a tangible way for people in countries like the United States to contribute. Specifically, there’s an easy way for SBC donors—who, we think must be among the most altruistic, benevolent people on the planet—to give locally and globally at the same time.
If you’ve donated blood with SBC before, you’re probably familiar with our online store for donors—and the option of donating the points you receive for donating blood towards charities including the UK-based GBF. The online store model works well in the US, where blood centers, instead of spending a few dollars on thank you gifts for donors, can pass a small sum on to blood centers overseas. It’s an ultimate win-win solution, where winning can mean lives saved.
GBF translates these points into equipment, training, grants and other assistance to help build the capacity of blood collectors in low-income countries to help patients. For example, GBF supports groups like the National Blood Service of Ghana, which is working to establish an apheresis center of excellence in Africa. GBF has helped countries across the globe, providing bloodmobiles to Mexico; laptops, donor chairs, and a blood banking conference scholarship to Kenya; portable donor beds to Cambodia; and much more.
Part of Stanford Blood Center’s mission has always been connecting donors to patients in the community. Our connection to GBF is just another expression of our expanding concept of community. Thanks for giving!
To donate your points, please visit our donor website, log in, navigate to the Rewards Program page, and click on the GBF logo. You also have the option to donate your points to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, or back to the Stanford Blood Center. Not a donor yet? Let’s fix that! Please call 888-723-7831 to make an appointment or visit sbcdonor.org.