SOS for blood as KZN hitsone day’s stock

2011-12-12 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL blood supplies are at a critical level. The province is sitting on one day’s stock of blood while nationally there is less than two-and-a-half days’ stock.

Said South African National Blood Service (SANBS) marketing consultant Gail Nothard: “We only have enough blood units for just one day, without considering emergency situations. Ideally we should have five days’ stock.”

Nothard told The Witness that hospitals have been calling to request blood for desperate patients, but there is none.

With schools and tertiary institutions closed, the situation could worsen as 40% of the blood that is banked is donated by youth aged 16 to 25.

“We’ll be going to malls and different communities and our donation centres will be open every day except for Christmas. There’s a major crisis,” she said.

SANBS hosted a media breakfast at Durban Country Club last week, where leukaemia survivors told of how blood donations saved their lives.

Robert Eddlers (10) of Morningside had leukaemia when he was six. His blood count was low and he needed platelets and a blood transfusion. Having spent months in hospital, Eddlers said: “I always felt better after a blood transfusion”.

A paediatrician haematologist, Dr Monica Viathilingum, said she has seen her young patients come close to death because of a blood shortage.

Three centres in the province cater for platelet donation — Pietermaritzburg, Pinetown and Newcastle. To learn where you can donate blood, call 0800 119 031.

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