Cape Town - 110608 - Nikki Le Roux donates blood at the Long Street Western Province Blood Transfusion Service's offices. This month (June) is International Blood Donation Month with 14th Of June being International Blood Donation Day. Picture: Matthew Jordaan/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - 110608 - Nikki Le Roux donates blood at the Long Street Western Province Blood Transfusion Service's offices. This month (June) is International Blood Donation Month with 14th Of June being International Blood Donation Day. Picture: Matthew Jordaan/African News Agency(ANA)

SANBS pleads for blood donations as their stocks are running low

By Karishma Dipa Time of article published Apr 16, 2021

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The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is pleading with South Africans to donate blood as the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated its supply.

“The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is facing severe blood stock shortages, to the extent that there may not be sufficient available blood for patients in need,” they said.

Lead Consultant in Medical Affairs at the SANBS Dr Solomuzi Ngcobo explained that they need to collect 3500 units of blood a day in order to function but that they are now facing a deficit and are only collecting 2300 stocks.

“We started noticing a decline in blood supply around February, when the country was coming out of the Covid-19 second wave.”

Ngcobo has blamed the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown restrictions for the decline in blood donations in the country.

“Covid-19 was a big factor because it restricted people’s movement and they were not able to donate at sites that they used to prior to the pandemic,” Ngcobo said.

He said that blood donations at places like schools and universities provided a large sum of their supply but that these youngsters have only returned to class recently, with some still learning online.

“About 50% of our blood supply in KwaZulu-Natal comes from schools and universities.”

“We also used to be stationed in office parks and factories but there is strict protocol around entering a business premise during the pandemic.”

However, Ngcobo said that the SANBS is at various malls across the country, as well as in some estates, churches and community centres.

Ngcobo also believes that many of those who want to donate blood fear doing so as they might contract the virus.

“We follow very strict protocols at all our sites and we can assure donors that they will be safe,” said Ngcobo.

He urged South Africans to donate blood as they could save a life.

“We are appealing to the nation to pull up their sleeves and donate blood, they never know how many lives they can save just by doing so,” he said.

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

To find out more about where you can donate blood, visit www.sanbs.org.za or call 0800 11 90 31.

The Saturday Star

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