Western Cape blood supply drops dangerously low due to adverse weather

The Western Cape Blood Service is appealing for urgent donations as blood stocks run critically low in the province.
The Western Cape Blood Service is appealing for urgent donations as blood stocks run critically low in the province.

Winter storms have contributed to a “severe blood stock shortage” in the Western Cape. 

The Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) appealed to donors on Monday to urgently donate blood as stocks were running critically low, mainly due to inclement weather keeping donors indoors. Winter storms had placed “severe pressure on the blood supply in the Western Cape”. 

“The winter is having a severe effect on our blood stocks and we are amid a severe stock shortage”, said Marike Carli, spokesperson for the WCBS. 

There was a critical shortage in the O and B blood groups, with only a two-day supply left. A-positive blood stocks are also under severe pressure with a three-day supply remaining.

“[The] WCBS aims to have a blood stock level of five days. The winter weather is not conducive to going out and with the continuing storms in Cape Town they are seeing the effects on their stocks. Blood donors suffer from colds and flu during this time and cannot donate blood until the resolution of their symptoms,” she said. 

June is celebrated as national blood donor month, aimed to raise awareness about the importance of voluntary blood donations and the importance of a safe, sustainable blood supply.  

Thousands of patients require a life-saving blood transfusion daily. Apart from accident and other trauma-related transfusions, patients include those who use it to correct a low platelet count, patients suffering from immunodeficiency disorders, those undergoing chemotherapy or awaiting a bone-marrow transplant, during childbirth and those undergoing heart surgery. 

To further raise awareness about blood donation, the WCBS will join a “Myrun” fun run on Sunday at various events in the Western Cape. 

The service encouraged participants to dress in red or “hero attire” to fit the theme — be a local hero and donate blood. For more information or to find your closest blood donation clinic, visit www.wcbs.org.za


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