Battle to boost blood stocks

Mthetho Ndoni

Mthetho Ndoni

The battle for blood has begun with the festive season looming.

Gail-Anne Nothard, national marketing manager of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), said that blood stocks are low throughout the country.

She appealed to the public to donate blood to prevent a crisis.

O-type blood in particular is needed because this can be received by any patient in an emergency situation.

Blood donors must be 16 and older, weigh 50kg or more, be healthy and lead a sexually safe lifestyle.

Eastern Cape's SANBS marketing manager, Maritsa Griesel, said companies in the province are challenged to donate blood between November 20 and December 15 in the "Battle of the Blood Givers".

Griesel said the programme was initiated last year as an attempt to alleviate the yearly festival season's blood shortage.

"It proved successful when 420 much-needed units of blood were collected last year."

The SANBS welcomes blood donated by gay men as long they have been celibate for six months before donating.

The organisation said it has introduced a new sophisticated blood-testing service which can easily detect viruses.