The South African National Blood Services has officially unveiled a 7500m² state-of-the-art laboratory in Mount Edgecombe Picture: SUPPLIED
The South African National Blood Services has officially unveiled a 7500m² state-of-the-art laboratory in Mount Edgecombe Picture: SUPPLIED

From donor to patient, KZN SANBS lab now allows public to view journey of blood donations

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jun 3, 2021

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DURBAN - The South African National Blood Services (SANBS) has officially unveiled a 7500m² state-of-the-art laboratory in Mount Edgecombe which will give the public a first-hand understanding of the testing and processing of blood from donor to patient.

A world first, the 'Journey of Blood' facility based at the SANBS KwaZulu-Natal regional headquarters, will enable people to see first-hand the testing and processing of blood to get it ready to save a life. The public will be able to walk through the facility without physically entering the laboratory space.

SANBS CEO, Ravi Reddy said the centre highlights the operating philosophy at SANBS which is underpinned by a focus on long-term sustainability, risk mitigation and a values-based culture centred on donors, staff and patients.

“The blood donor fraternity is tremendously excited to be allowed to ‘walk the Journey of Blood’ and our team is eager to share their expertise with our valued donors. Regulators, scholars and students are also welcome to experience the journey of blood with us,” Reddy said.

The South African National Blood Services has officially unveiled a 7500m² state-of-the-art laboratory in Mount Edgecombe Picture: SUPPLIED

The South African National Blood Services has officially unveiled a 7500m² state-of-the-art laboratory in Mount Edgecombe Picture: SUPPLIED

The World Health Organization (WHO) says safe blood and blood products and their transfusion are a critical aspect of care and public health.

They save millions of lives and improve the health and quality of life of many patients every day. The need for blood is universal, but access to blood for all those who need it is not.

SANBS built the Mount Edgecombe facility to raise awareness around blood transfusion in the province and grow the donor pool.

Donors can donate their blood up to six times a year and one unit of blood can save up to three lives. Those who are blood group A and AB donors between the ages of 18 to 65 years are eligible to donate plasma every two weeks to a maximum of 24 times a year.

SANBS chairperson Ansie Ramalho said the launch of this laboratory highlights their continuous dedication to becoming sustainable innovators in the industry through facilities that will benefit staff, donors and visitors.

“The Journey of Blood laboratory will ensure we meet blood demands in KwaZulu-Natal, improve community health through various studies with renowned scientists. In terms of sustainability, it contributes to our vision of Greening SANBS which is in line with the UN 2030 sustainable development goals. This further underpins our commitment to ensure that SANBS not only becomes the cornerstone of healthcare in South Africa but all over the world,” Ramalho said.

The South African National Blood Services has officially unveiled a 7500m² state-of-the-art laboratory in Mount Edgecombe Picture: SUPPLIED

The lab is 7500m² and consists of the following features:

  • A glass ceiling that provides a full view of the journey of blood.
  • Interactive information screens.
  • It is a solar-powered ‘Green Building’ with a borehole water system and a negligible carbon footprint.
  • A drone port on the roof of the building
  • All laboratories were built in line with Good Manufacturing Practise (GMP) standards.
  • The facility even features a restaurant for donors to eat before or after donating blood.

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