SA faces serious blood shortage this festive season

SOUTH Africa faces a very serious blood shortage this festive season and the situation is said to be worse than last year.

SOUTH Africa faces a very serious blood shortage this festive season and the situation is said to be worse than last year.

The country is at present sitting at two-day stock levels instead of seven days as is the norm.

In a bid to overcome this the SA National Blood Services appeals to everyone to donate blood. The service is running short of group O blood, the universal type that can be safely transfused to patients of any blood type.

SANBS spokesperson Justice Mohale, said: "We have a serious shortage of blood at a time when we need it most.

"We are sitting at two-day stock levels. Our ideal stock levels would be seven days, though we have managed on four- or fiveday levels. We urge new and all regular donors - particularly blood type O - to donate blood.

"This type is always needed because it can be given to any patient during an emergency no matter which blood group they fall under.

"In an emergency doctors have no time to check which blood type runs in your body. The only thing on their mind is to save lives and that can only be done if they have enough supply of blood type O.

"The donated blood is not only used for people who have been involved in accidents. People suffering from cancer are also in dire need. When they begin their chemotherapy, they lose all their bloods cells which have to be replaced," Mohale said.

He said pregnant women also need blood since they usually bleed excessively during birth.

Blood donors have to be between 16 and 65, weigh 50kg or more and lead a sexually safe lifestyle. People can donate blood every 56 days. To find a blood donation site close to you call SANBS on 0800 119 031.

X