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SANBS appeals for more blood donations as stocks plummet

‘Without donors there’s no way to sustain blood stocks’

The SANBS needs to collect 3,500 units of blood a day.
The SANBS needs to collect 3,500 units of blood a day.
Image: 123RF/nyvltart

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) needs to collect 3,500 units of blood a day and Khensani Mahlangu, communications specialist at the service says that there’s an urgency in appealing to people to donate and to refill stocks. 

Given the severe blood shortages experienced by SANBS, awareness of World Blood Donor Day is now more crucial than ever. 

“We did announce the urgency of the blood donations because of the dwindling units we have, and I think it’s especially important today, as the whole purpose of the day is to bring awareness to the people as well as to maintain blood stocks in SA and to relieve the 1% that are constantly donating their blood,” said Mahlangu. 

She added that the people who were committed, who donated on a regular basis, could not carry the burden alone. 

“That 1% of the people are servicing the rest of the country and it weighs heavy on them, because a whole country cannot rely on the 1% of supply and so we are appealing to the youth especially this month to come out in numbers, not only the youth but everyone to donate their blood,” she said. 

Mahlangu said the SANBS had had lower stock days before, adding that you could never really have enough. With the current weather conditions and a higher than usual demand for blood, blood stocks have been plummeting. 

“The whole message behind all of this is that without donors there is no way to sustain the blood stocks and help everyone and we really don’t want to get to a point where we have no blood to sustain patients and help people,” Mahlangu said. 

She said that often the problem lied with the lack of knowledge around what SANBS does. 

“And it’s really important that people know this because one would be surprised at how many people don’t know what we do or there’s a lack of knowledge around who, where and how exactly we help people. So we need to make a lot of people aware of the kind of service we give and what exactly the blood is for and maybe then people will be more open to donating,” she said. 

“Blood is a very crucial and important thing that most people take for granted, a small drop can really help especially in situations of trauma patients who need transfusions, patients who have been in bad accidents that really need the blood or they could lose their lives. Blood can save a friend, a loved one and it’s taken for granted everyday,” said Mahlangu. 

Thandi Mosupye, SANBS senior manager in communications, said with little blood available on hand it posed a severe impact on patients. 

“Whenever our blood stocks reach below three days, it places the lives of patients at risk. The lives of hemorrhaging mothers, newborn babies, accident victims, and thousands of other patients in need of a blood transfusion,” Mosupye said. 

“Each blood donation gives patients a second chance with their loved ones. Another Christmas to remember, another summer holiday at the beach, another birthday celebration,” added Mosupye. 

To become a blood donor, you must: 

  • Be between the ages of 16 and 75 years 
  • Weigh 50kg or more 
  • Be in good health 
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle 
  • Consider your blood safe for transfusion to a patient 
  • Commit to donating blood regularly

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