Lumka Funani, Medical Technician pick up donor blood stock from the cold room. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA

Cape Town - The Khayelitsha District Hospital (KDH) has become the fifth hospital to receive a blood bank through a partnership between the Western Cape government and the Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS).

The blood bank will operate for 24 hours and will result in rapid availability of cross-matched blood to the hospital and other surrounding hospitals, where the demand is always high, particularly in trauma wards.

Gregory Bellairs, chief executive of Western Cape Blood Service, said this was the first blood bank they had opened in more than 20 years.

“This has enabled us to bring the blood supply closer to the patients of this and surrounding hospitals, and that includes improving our ability to supply blood on the Cape Flats where the epidemic of trauma and violence is high, as well as the burden of disease,” Bellairs said.

“We identified that this would improve patient outcomes if we established a blood bank that will be central in the Cape metro, and explored the Mitchells Plain Hospital as a possible site but we eventually settled for the KDH,” he added.

Official opening of the Khayelitsha Hospital Blood Bank. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA
Nicky du Toit, CFO of Khayelitsha Hospital and David Binza, CEO of Khayelitsha Hospital cut the ribbon for the official opening of the blood bank. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA
Linah Njuleni, Medical Laboratory Scientist does a "cross match" which is a test of donor cells against a patients plasma to see if it is a match. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA

He said they have been able to supply the whole Cape Town from existing blood banks, which are in four hospitals. 

KDH acting CEO, David Binza, welcomed the service to the hospital.

“Khayelitsha is classified as a red zone, as it has a lot of interpersonal violence with gunshot and stab wounds cases in the emergency care. Bringing this service closer to the people is even much more necessary as blood is a precious gift, which will enable us to save more lives” he said.

Bellairs said the usage of group O blood was disproportionately high, and called on more people to donate blood.

“Even though we generally have enough blood it is desirable to have more people to become blood donors and donate more blood,” he said.

Gregory Bellairs, chief executive of Western Cape Blood Service,. Video: Tracey Adams/African News Agency
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Cape Argus