Your blood can save lives

18 March 2022 - 07:00
By GCIS VUK'UZENZELE
Mosa Mphore was given a new lease of life thanks to blood he received from the SANBS.
Image: Supplied. Mosa Mphore was given a new lease of life thanks to blood he received from the SANBS.

The gift of blood from a donor saved the life of Mosa Mphore (34) after complications from an earlier kidney transplant.

Mphore says thanks to the South African National Blood Service’s (SANBS) work, blood was available when he needed a transfusion last February at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.

“After I fell ill, doctors said that my body was unable to fight illnesses, so I had to get a plasma transfusion. Plasma was extracted from donated blood.”

Mphore says a plasma transfusion is generally given to people with liver disease. It helps boost the patient's blood volume.

Blood donations can save countless lives, says SANBS spokesperson Khensani Mahlangu. Donated blood is used to treat people in both public and private health facilities.

“A single ‘whole blood’ donation may help as many as three patients,” she says.

Donated blood can also be used to treat:

  • Patients with cancer.
  • Accident victims.
  • Women who may bleed excessively during labour.

According to Mahlangu, 27% of blood is used in medical cases, 26% in

childbirth and gynaecological cases, 21% in surgical cases, 10% in paediatric cases, 6% in orthopaedic cases, another 6% goes towards research and 4% is used in casualty wards to treat victims of trauma.

Mahlangu also explained that the blood of first time donars is not used in its totality. 

"Components of the blood are extracted such as  plasma for example."

 She says the more one donates the more chances that their whole blood will be used.

"The blood donated by regular donors is less likely to be in the infectious window period."

Become a donor

The SANBS has a set of requirements for people to be considered safe blood donors. You must weigh at least 50kg, be between the ages of 16 and 65, be in good health, and lead a sexually safe lifestyle.

Donated blood lasts only for 42 days after donation, which is why SANBS appeals to people to donate regularly – donors may make a donation every 56 days, according to Mahlangu.

To ensure the country has an adequate blood supply, 3 500 people need to donate blood daily, says Mahlangu.

If you want to donate blood, visit your local blood donation centre or watch out for local blood drives, which are held in shopping centres, and at schools and health centres countrywide.

For more information, visit www.sanbs.org.za(link is external) or call 011 761 9000.

-This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.