Enock's journey to 45 blood donations

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The man you see in the picture wearing a hart and a checked blue shirt with a 3-year old daughter is Enock Friday. He has just strolled into the blood donation venue with 44 donations behind his mind. He now wants to give blood for the forty fifth time at the blood donation drive organized jointly by Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS) and First Merchant Bank (FMB).

Is the blood donation milestone surprising to reach? Not quite really, but the 36-year-old Enock Friday first step into blood donation journey began with a sad story. He started donating blood when he wanted to save his aunt who was at the hospital in need of blood. “Unfortunately my aunt died due to other complications. Ever since then, I made a promise to start donating blood until age catches up with me,” Friday says. 
“I began donating blood in June 2004 and having donated many times without any problems, I don’t think I can stop now. Besides, I have a long way to reach 65 years, the last age for donating blood,” Friday explains.

Friday works at the Malawi Blood Transfusion Service Odala centre. He usually donates blood at the static (fixed) blood donation clinic. He sets a good example to emulate to both MBTS workers and the general public – those who meet the criteria to donate blood.
“If I cannot do anything to help the situation, then that is a different story but I know for the fact that donating blood 44 times has helped save many lives, even if I do not know these people,” says Friday.

In a pose and voice of showing satisfaction, he emphasized, “It makes me feel fulfilled that I am making a difference. I am also hoping to set a good example for my daughter here for when she grows older,” he said touching his daughter’s braids.

To become a blood donor is simple: be aged 16-65 years, weigh at least 42 kgs, be health, not engaging in risky behaviours and currently not on medication –malaria drugs, antibiotics or antiretroviral drugs.

Malawi needs at least 80, 000 units of blood every year but the MBTS collects and supplies around 65 percent of the national blood need. Statistics also show that around 65 percent of those who consume blood and blood products are women and children, justifying role blood plays in safe motherhood issues.

If most blood donors can emulate the zeal exemplified by Enock Friday, Malawi can tackle blood shortage in the hospitals. Since it started its operations, MBTS has registered at least 150, 000 blood donors but many have lapsed. “If people can commit to donating blood, blood shortage in the hospitals will be history in Malawi,” Friday concludes.