Donate blood, save a life

2016-06-22 06:00

THE South African National Blood Service (SANBS) are running on fumes with under three days of blood stocks for the KwaZulu-Natal region which includes Pietermaritzburg, Newcastle, Durban North, Durban South and Pinetown.

“The month of June is blood donor month and SANBS is pleading with all South African citizens who meet the requirements of being a blood donor to take a few minutes of their time and visit our donor centres and mobile clinics to donate blood.

“Without committed blood donors, SANBS will not be able to supply the hospitals with safe and sufficient blood. Pietermaritzburg, as a branch, has a monthly target of approximately 2500 units of blood that we need to collect,” said Khulekani Zuma, SANBS public relations practitioner in Pietermaritzburg.

Zuma said that the database shows that the number of blood donors is increasing, especially African donors, whereas the white population donor base is decreasing. “Although the African donors are increasing, they are not retained; meaning that they don’t donate as frequently as SANBS would like them to. They generally only make one donation,” said Zuma.

SANBS needs all four blood types to be donated.

“All blood types A, B, AB and O are important. With blood type O negative being the universal blood type, it can be transfused to any patient. That is why at times we make a special plea for blood type O,” he said.

SANBS operates in eight provinces in South Africa, with the exception of the Western Cape. The blood collected is circulated as per need. If one zone is in need of blood, it can be sent from another zone that has a surplus. The current blood stock nationally is three day’s supply.

“Pietermaritzburg is doing well. In May we collected over and above our target and were the best performing branch. It’s all thanks to our donors who are committed and dedicated to saving lives,” said Zuma.

Zuma said that without blood, committed blood donor hospitals will not be able to operate and many people will not get a second chance to life, especially those who need blood transfusion.

“Donating one unit of blood can save up to three lives. Donating blood is a noble gesture that every qualifying citizen should do. We would also like to appeal to schools that we are not currently visiting to open their doors, as well as churches and business sites,” said Zuma.

People in Pietermaritzburg can donate at the SANBS Donor Centre at 294 Jabu Ndlovu Street which is open from Monday to Saturday.

For more information visit www.sanbs.org.za

To get SANBS to your organisation contact Khulekani Zuma at 033 264 3600 or email khuleka ni.zuma@sanbs.org.za

Blood donor requirements:

• You must be between the ages of 16 and 65.

• You must weigh 50kgs or more.

• You must lead a sexually safe lifestyle.

• You must be in good health at the time of donating.

• You must eat at least four hours before donating blood.

• If somebody has put him or herself at risk of contracting HIV/Aids they must not donate blood.

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